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.)
"'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
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.
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.