Good in a Crisis: A Memoir

Good in a Crisis: A Memoir

3.6 8
by Margaret Overton
     
 

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Honest, hopeful, hilarious—the smartest, most knowing account of a woman and the calamities of midlife since Nora Ephron's wryly humorous Heartburn.

During the four years of physician Margaret Overton's acrimonious divorce, she dated widely and indiscriminately, determined to find her soul mate and live happily ever after. But then she

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Overview

Honest, hopeful, hilarious—the smartest, most knowing account of a woman and the calamities of midlife since Nora Ephron's wryly humorous Heartburn.

During the four years of physician Margaret Overton's acrimonious divorce, she dated widely and indiscriminately, determined to find her soul mate and live happily ever after. But then she discovered she had a brain aneurysm. She discovered it at a particularly awkward moment on a date with one of many Mr. Wrongs.

Good in a Crisis is Overton's laugh-out-loud funny story of dealing with the most serious of life's problems: loss of life, loss of love, loss of innocence. It's about spirituality, self-delusion, even sheer stupidity. It's written from a physician's perspective, but it's not about medicine, per se; it's about coming of age in adulthood, an effort to help others through the awful events that can cluster in midlife. She does this with laughter and the recognition that you may come out the other end, as Overton did, definitely humbled... and only slightly smarter.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this smart and clear-eyed narrative of one woman’s midlife divorce, Chicago anesthesiologist Overton writes of how she and her surgeon husband of nearly 20 years drifted into mutual emotional apathy (he was having an affair, it turned out, and not for the first time) and decided to divorce in 2002, precipitating for her a long, unlovely withdrawal of trust in men. The divorce would turn rancorous and head to court—for reasons not fully explained—as their two daughters, at 16 and 19, were nearly grown and it seemed a “hyperbolic meanness” had gripped the couple. Overton writes frankly of the “collateral damage” the whole enterprise wrought on the people around her, from the hurtful way she treated others to the crazy purchases she made and the wrongheaded belief that she would replace her spouse and sex partner in the space of a few months. In the last endeavor, she tried mightily to find a new companion on the Internet, having been told this was the only way to meet a man in her mid-40s, and a good bit of her engaging narrative involves dates with unsavory specimens. Overton managed to overcome her many trials as she imparts with humor and some high-handed poise. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

“'Men might find you attractive, but only until they find out how smart you are.' This unhusbandly remark will resonate with a great many women who've felt it even if they haven't heard it in so many words. It's typical of the fierce candor Margaret Overton summons – along with an intact sense of humor and a doctor's eye for detail – to tell the story of how she survived a perfect storm of disasters and ended up stronger, wiser and ready for a kinder future.” —Rosellen Brown

Good in a Crisis is a riotous romp through the messy, confusing, wonderful labyrinth of life. If you don't laugh, cry, sing, and shout while reading this book, call the coroner because you're already dead. Oh, and I'm nominating Overton for sainthood. She earned it.” —Larry Dossey, M.D., author, The Power of Premonitions; executive editor, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing

“What a story. Margaret Overton's Good in A Crisis is one harrowing episode after another. But as this grief-stricken anesthesiologist recounts her pain--of divorce, of illness, of bad dates and worse--she keeps tapping us right in the funny bone. The effect is quite moving and startling.” —James McManus, author of Positively Fifth Street

“Margaret Overton is a truly funny, nervy, and insightful writer. Despite her personal losses, she and her wonderful memoir are both winners. I love Good in a Crisis!” —Hilma Wolitzer, author of An Available Man

“[A] smart and clear-eyed narrative of one woman's midlife divorce…. Overton managed to overcome her many trials as she imparts with humor and some high-handed poise.” —Publishers Weekly

“[A] grimly hilarious journey…. brutally funny reading about midlife coming-of-age.” —Kirkus Reviews


"'Men might find you attractive, but only until they find out how smart you are.’  This unhusbandly remark will resonate with a great many women who’ve felt it even if they haven’t heard it in so many words.  It’s typical of the fierce candor Margaret Overton summons – along with an intact sense of humor and a doctor’s eye for detail – to tell the story of how she survived a perfect storm of disasters and ended up stronger, wiser and ready for a kinder future."Rosellen Brown

"Good in a Crisis is a riotous romp through the messy, confusing, wonderful labyrinth of life.  If you don’t laugh, cry, sing, and shout while reading this book, call the coroner because you’re already dead.  Oh, and I’m nominating Overton for sainthood.  She earned it." Larry Dossey, M.D., author, The Power of Premonitions; executive editor, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing

"What a story. Margaret Overton's Good in A Crisis is one harrowing episode after another. But as this grief-stricken anesthesiologist recounts her pain--of divorce, of illness, of bad dates and worse--she keeps tapping us right in the funny bone. The effect is quite moving and startling."—James McManus, author of Positively Fifth Street

"Margaret Overton is a truly funny,  nervy, and insightful writer.  Despite her personal losses, she and her wonderful memoir are both winners. I love Good in a Crisis! "—Hilma Wolitzer, author of An Available Man   "[A] smart and clear-eyed narrative of one woman’s midlife divorce…. Overton managed to overcome her many trials as she imparts with humor and some high-handed poise."Publishers Weekly

"[A] grimly hilarious journey…. brutally funny reading about midlife coming-of-age."Kirkus Reviews

Library Journal
Throughout an ugly four-year divorce, Overton dated wildly and was having sex with yet another inappropriate man when she discovered that she had a brain aneurysm. It helped that she is a physician, practicing anesthesiology in Chicago. So much in-house enthusiasm, for the writing as well as the content, that now I'm psyched.
Kirkus Reviews
When Chicago anesthesiologist and debut memoirist Overton turned 44, her world turned permanently and irrevocably upside-down. The "perfect" life and marriage that she had built with her occasionally philandering physician husband over 20 years came to a jarring end. In a haze of confusion, Overton began her grimly hilarious journey into the Heart of Darkness "craziness" that came to define her new reality. Naïvely assuming that she "would move from one marriage into another, or at least into another committed relationship," the author sought companionship with men she met through online dating services. What she found was a nightmare: If the men didn't mention or reveal a "propensity to dump women after a month" or openly discuss problems with physical ailments including erectile dysfunction, they were freakishly quirky--and sometimes downright dangerous--obsessives who believed that gifts from Victoria's Secret were every woman's fantasy. As Overton stumbled through the midlife dating jungle, her body betrayed her with a life-threatening aneurysm that she became aware of during an abortive sexual encounter. She survived this with her own mortality but found that others--from her best friend to her mother to her own daughter--did not, or emerged physically and/or emotionally scarred. If not for Overton's singular determination to highlight the humorous and learn from the apocalyptic events that overtook her in middle age, the narrative would read like an embittered litany of yet another angry divorcée. Growing older may be difficult, she writes, but surviving the inevitable traumas of later life may offer passage to the enlightened state of being that "sounds more appealing than dotage." At times brutally funny reading about midlife coming-of-age.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608197644
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
01/31/2012
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
8.48(w) x 5.84(h) x 0.94(d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Overton is an anesthesiologist with an MFA in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine and Creative Nonfiction. She lives in Chicago, and Good in a Crisis is her first book.

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Good in a Crisis: A Memoir 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this memoir! It takes guts to write as honestly as Overton does. She's brave and funny and humble and hardworking- there's a lot to be learned from this woman. Beautifully written, moving, and hilarious!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I must admit I am not an avid reader, but I really enjoyed this book! I found it was hard to put down. The author's descriptions of the events in her mid-life are so painfully honest that I really felt as if I were her confidant. There were also many funny moments to punctuate sections that were sad. Though I am not divorced myself, I can imagine this would be a great read for someone going through a divorce and having difficulty finding their way. Overall, reading this book was a great way to spend some time. I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny and insightful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice to know we're not alone. Dosen't matter what education level or up bringing we are spawned from. Love, happiness and the pursuit of being whole through relationships is a difficult path. I have a little more insight of where to start looking now. Thank you Dr.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book starts out great - Overton writes well, and I was quickly engaged in the narrative. But (spoiler alert) it never goes anywhere. The end of the book is extremely frustrating - it's as if Overton just decides to stop writing. Abrupt, poorly planned - it's not even about the story line as much as the way Overton presents it. I can't recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book for anyone who is going through similar circumstances, being single again in mid life, and oh so true...even if I wish it were not. I can empathize because even though I am a fairly intelligent, professionally successful women in mid-life, my choices in men and with relationships are deplorable, to say the least. I also have many wonderful women friends who seem to be making similar decisions, all in the name of "love and companionship". Gratitude to the author for sharing this story...I don't feel so bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring.and self-serving.