Elinor ha sempre fatto le cose giuste: si è laureata in legge con il massimo dei voti, è stata assunta nello studio legale di una prestigiosa azienda e si è sposata con un uomo fantastico. Anche Ted, suo marito, ha sempre fatto la cosa giusta, fino a quando non ha incontrato la donna sbagliata, e proprio nel momento peggiore, quando cioè i dottori, dopo due anni di vani tentativi, visite e test di fertilità, hanno ufficialmente sconsigliato a Elinor di cercare ancora di avere figli. Gina, l'amante di Ted, è una ...
Elinor ha sempre fatto le cose giuste: si è laureata in legge con il massimo dei voti, è stata assunta nello studio legale di una prestigiosa azienda e si è sposata con un uomo fantastico. Anche Ted, suo marito, ha sempre fatto la cosa giusta, fino a quando non ha incontrato la donna sbagliata, e proprio nel momento peggiore, quando cioè i dottori, dopo due anni di vani tentativi, visite e test di fertilità, hanno ufficialmente sconsigliato a Elinor di cercare ancora di avere figli. Gina, l'amante di Ted, è una nutrizionista, perciò - ovviamente - mangia sempre le cose giuste. Purtroppo, però, non fa altro che collezionare uomini sbagliati, bugiardi, infantili o, peggio, sposati. Quando, per caso, Elinor viene a sapere della tresca tra i due, decide che è il momento di dare una svolta alla sua vita, invece di passare ore a piangere da sola davanti alla lavatrice, l'unica cosa che gira ancora nel verso giusto. E se il destino ha piani diversi per lei, meglio assecondarlo, tanto per cominciare rivoluzionando il taglio di capelli. E poi stare a vedere: a quarant'anni può essere che il meglio debba ancora venire.
A former copywriter and PR exec turned writer (her first foray into freelance journalism was as a stringer for Automotive News), Lolly Winston has found her niche as a novelist with Good Grief -- "one of the best first novels I have ever read," according to fellow fiction writer Anne Rivers Siddons.
With stints in journalism and public relations, plus an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College, Lolly Winston was an experienced writer before she penned her first novel. Still, her initial goal wasn't to write a bestseller -- it was just to finish the manuscript. "Really, I just had the personal goal of finishing a novel before I turned forty," said Winston in an interview on her publisher's Web site. "Even if it was collecting dust in a drawer somewhere when I was on my death bed, I just wanted it to be finished."
The year before she turned forty, Winston took a hiatus from her other writing to complete Good Grief, the wry and touching story of a young woman coping with the death of her husband. Far from collecting dust in a drawer, Winston's novel flew off the shelves. It was chosen as a No. 1 Booksense pick and received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, where the reviewer wrote: "Throughout this heartbreaking, gorgeous look at loss, Winston imbues her heroine and her narrative with the kind of grace, bitter humor and rapier-sharp realness that will dig deep into a reader's heart and refuse to let go."
Good Grief renders the mourning process with such intimacy and accuracy that readers may wonder whether Winston herself is a widow. She isn't, but she did lose both her parents while she was still a young woman. "My father died when I was 29 and four years later my mother died," she explained on her publisher's Web site. "The day that my dad died I went out and bought a bathmat and a new lamp. Grief didn't hit me for a while. I even found myself resenting the mourners at our house. How could they accept his death so readily? I found grief like charging something on a credit card -- you pay later, with interest. Months after my father's death I started breaking down. I remember sitting at my desk at work one day, unable to pick up my pencil."
After her depression began to subside, Winston realized she wanted to write about what grief was really like -- including "the messy, quirky aspects of grief." Accordingly, the heroine of Good Grief sleeps in her late husband's shirts, eats Oreos by the package and drives her car through the closed garage door. She also struggles to keep living and moving forward, even though she can't at first imagine what her future will be like.
The result is a blend of pathos and humor that rings true for many readers. "Refreshingly, Winston has removed the sap factor that often makes these tales of lost love as gooey as Vermont maple syrup or as saccharine as an artificially sweetened Nicholas Sparks novel," noted a reviewer for USA Today.
In an essay on her publisher's Web site, Winston writes about "finding the comedy in tragedy":
"I've always loved novels that are funny and sad at the same time. The Bell Jar, Lolita. If you go back and re-read those books, you rediscover their humor with surprise. Suicidal depression, funny? Pedophilia, funny? Somehow, yes. This seems to be where poignancy comes from -- in finding the irony and humor in the worst things that happen to us in life."
Good To Know
Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Winston:
"My first job out of college, with a major in English, was as a breakfast cook at a Sheraton in Durham, North Carolina. You don't ever want to get burned with hot grits."
"I was the world's worst waitress -- I spilled entrees, broke corks, mixed up orders. I was demoted, and that's how I wound up working in the kitchen and working various cooking jobs throughout college and grad school. This is an autobiographical part of Good Grief."
"When I was in my early 20s, I went to Hawaii for eight days and stayed for eight years. I learned to boogie board and dance the hula and barbecue in the wind without using any lighter fluid. My 20s were basically one long summer. Then I had to come home from camp and grow up and face the real world."
"My three cats are my writing companions. I cut and file my cats' nails, brush their teeth, and write songs for them. ‘Life's not too shi#*^, when you're a kitty!' I'm embarrassed to admit that I've become a crazy cat lady."