Cross-posted from mareeanderson.com ... because I'm on holiday and resting my brain *g* Hope you'll forgive me!
I have. Still do, in fact. Which is possibly why when I spotted Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray mentioned on a review blog, the book caught my eye.
Now I have to admit that I’m not a big reader of women’s fiction. I find that too often the endings leave me cold. I want to feel good when I read the ending, not mildly horrified and depressed by how hopeless the characters seem to be (as happened with one book I read recently). I want happy ever after, dammit! Or at least Happy For Now. Or at the very very least, a possibility of happiness in the future. So as I kinda presumed this book was classified as women’s fiction and might end up being not be my cup of tea, it sat around for a couple of weeks while I devoured some sure-thing romances before I picked it up.
Happily, I was delighted with this book in every way.
Calling Invisible Women struck a deep chord in me, and I found it the perfect combination of just a little heartbreaking and amusing and real. I was totally invested in Clover, the main character, who puts on her clothes and continues on as usual while wondering how long it’ll take her family to notice there’s literally no body visible in the clothes. Hours? Days? Weeks? (I’m not telling, because that would spoil the story.) And the Invisible Women coffee group at the fancy hotel, where all the women strip off so they truly are invisible… except for the Kleenex they leave on their laps (so no one sits on them accidentally) and use to wave around when they want permission to speak? Very amusing indeed.
For me, the ending was immensely satisfying, too–no mild feeling of horror at how miserable and lacking hope the characters have ended up after all their struggles in this book. It was heartwarming and full of hope and just lovely, and without giving anything away, the last line brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face. Endings don’t get much better than that.
Just one thing: this one might be one for the girls only. I tried explaining the concept to DH but he just couldn’t suspend disbelief enough to “get it”, even though there was a (to me!) perfectly reasonable explanation for the women in this story becoming invisible.
Here’s the inside cover blurb:
A mom in her early fifties, Clover knows she no longer turns heads the way she used to, and she’d only really missed when dinner isn’t on the table on time. Then Clover wakes up one morning to discover she’s invisible–truly invisible. She panics, but when her husband and son sit down to dinner, nothing is amiss. Even though she’s been with her husband, Arthur, since college, her condition goes unnoticed. Her friend Gilda immediately observes that Clover is invisible, which relieves Clover immensely–she’s not losing her mind after all!–but she’s crushed by the realization that neither her husband nor her children ever truly look at her. She was invisible even before she knew she was invisible.
Clover discovers that there are other women like her, women of a certain age who seem to have disappeared. As she uses her invisibility to get to know her family and her town better, Clover leads the way in helping invisible women become recognized and appreciated no matter what their role. Smart and hilarious, with indomitable female characters, Calling Invisible Women will appeal to anyone who has ever felt invisible.
I'll be back to my usual Writers Gone Wild ramblings next fortnight!