You cannot go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending
This book has so many themes:
Aging, fear of getting/being old
Relationships/sex & dating in your 60s
Health – mental & physical as well as lying/hiding health conditions
The story is told from the viewpoint of the main character, Loretha (Lo), who is married to Carl who is her third husband. Loretha has 2 children, a son, Jackson, who lives in Japan with his Japanese wife and 2 children (twins) and Jalecia with whom she has a difficult relationship. Her children are from her first and second marriages. No children with Carl to whom she has been married for 25 years. Loretha meets regularly with her friends, Korynthia (Ko), Sadie, Lucky and Poochie. Loretha is a twin and she and her sister, Odessa, don’t really like each other but do love each other. All of them are in their late 60s having been friends since childhood and Loretha’s mother, Ma, lives in an old people’s home but is such a hoot. Her granddaughter, Cinnamon, who is Jalecia’s daughter, is married with young twins named Handsome and Pretty and the love in the grandmother/grandchild relationship shines through.
When Carl dies suddenly having made a pact with Loretha’s friends that he would hold Lo to doing the activities she finds unpleasant with her girlfriends (cruise, going to Las Vegas). Lo goes into a depression and lies to herself about making lifestyle changes as a diabetic even when she learns that Carl hid that he had a heart condition.
Carl’s family attend the funeral and a young man named Kwame tells Loretha that he is Carl’s son, who would have been conceived before Carl & Loretha met. Loretha accepts Kwame like another son and treats him that way, later it turns out that family gossip about Carl being Kwame’s father was completely wrong! This can be so true of gossip and Kwame’s mother, Carolyn, set that straight when asked. Loretha helped so many with funds and accommodation when they needed it.
She has a hate relationship with her doctor who is advising to lose weight, exercise and eat right. Eventually through her journey in the book she comes to accept the advice of the doctor who shares that she herself went through the same problems in coming to terms with making healthy changes to reverse the impact of diabetes.
Even though Korynthia urges her to walk and exercise with her company it takes a long time for Lo to get serious about her health and find that she enjoyed attending the exercise classes led by Korynthia and even caught the eye of one of the men also attending but she was not interested as still mourning and missing Carl.
Her daughter’s aunt, Peggy, was constantly asking or demanding money from Loretha saying it was for Jalecia which Loretha gave hoping it would help her daughter get help for her alcohol abuse as Jalecia saw her aunt Peggy and would not reach out to her mother. It turned out Peggy had her own financial problems and would use Jalecia as an excuse in her demands but did not let Loretha have her address.
Loretha wanted to support her daughter but didn’t know what was best to help her daughter. It was through Loretha’s doctor, who she initially resented that she got contacts for 2 psychiatrists who were eventually able to get Jalecia on a programme to understand the reason behind the alcoholism which was a mental health issue that had also afflicted the aunt, Peggy.
The girl trip to Las Vegas where Poochie arranged everything brought out the personalities of the friendship but it turned out to be the last hurrah for Poochie who hid her terminal cancer from them and took her own life before the cancer ravaged her. They all grieved fro Poochie not reaching out so that they could give comfort or help in some way. Poochie left a message for them to go on a cruise and take a guest of their choice with them all paid for by Poochie. Loretha took her sister, Odessa, and helped them to resolve their relationship.
Sadie, who had been having an affair with the married minister of the church where she was the tome deaf choir leader turned up with her female lover to the surprise of all but who were suspicious about Sadie’s sexuality. Korynthia arrived with her ‘beau’ as she had been using dating apps and they got married during the cruise. Lucky who was the miserable one and had decided to divorce her husband, to the consternation of her friends, rekindled her marriage to Joe.
Loretha faced her fears and visited her son and his family in Japan. She decided to relaunch her beauty business to great success. Yes, she’s getting older, her health is an issue but she is making changes, she is adapting to becoming a widow, renewed her relationship with her daughter and her twin sister and gained understanding.
Sisterhood has prevailed and life does not end at 60/70/80. Life goes on with expected and unexpected experiences with more to learn, appreciate and enjoy. This is an engaging story that sucked me in and I could identify with the dilemmas of getting older. I would definitely recommend this book.
Health & Wellbeing tips
Whoever we are, whatever we do, we all experience times of stress. The world is experiencing stress on a huge continuous scale.
Here are a few tips and reminders of what you can do on a daily basis for yourself, as a treat, which products you can use to serve your well-being 24/7.
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What can we do?
Talk about stress
Share coping mechanisms
Be kind & Compassionate
Look after yourself
Self - Care
Go out in nature
Get your hair done
Get a massage