Review: Hot Flashes & Cold Lemonade

Hot Flashes & Cold LemonadeHot Flashes & Cold Lemonade by Susan Flett Swiderski

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wisdom, Tears and Laughter. Pull up a chair!

I encountered this book the first time I read something by Susan Flett Swiderski (who is a very active and enjoyable blogger, among other things). She had a picture of a glass of lemonade with a twist of lemon, with the words ‘Hot flashes & Cold Lemonade’ on it. The photo itself was enjoyable. When I learned that it was actually a book cover, I had to pick up a copy. Being a cautious sort, I checked inside, skipped around the previews, and bought a copy.

The story starts out with a bang. Pearl is driving through her childhood neighborhood, remembering the happy moments, savoring the memories – and suddenly sees her father driving off with a woman who is not her mother. At her childhood home her mother has a couple pithy things to say about her husband and the situation. Reality – the existence of inconvenience, unhappiness and even tragedy – comes crashing down into Pearl’s consciousness. And the story unfolds.

This book is a little like sitting down with someone you enjoy, who can tell a good story and somehow make a laundry list enjoyable. That is not to say that this book is a laugh-fest. it isn’t. It touches a great many serious issues like adultery, aging, disillusionment, but it does so with a smile.

Wisdom and laughter are almost inseparable. Tears are not always tragic. And, sometimes, listening to someone telling a wise, deep story through laughter can stay with you longer than anything you have read to date.

Hot Flashes & Cold Lemonade is skillfully written. The narrative, while very enjoyable, allows the story to move on even as it collects little items to salt in among your consciousness.

I really enjoyed this book and would suggest it to anyone. I hope more are in the works.

…and don’t forget to read the postscript.

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Surviving – A Celebration

Today I am celebrating surviving.

It has been a difficult, wheel-spinning, feeling tired, wondering why I have been put on the earth, doubting my abilities, living in a messy room and wanting to gas up my car and drive to Montana weeks (two, in fact).

I haven’t been to my blog, I’ve written maybe 1200 words in the past two weeks, I’ve cast an eye over the lovely posts and really nice comments and done…  nothing.

I’m working on a love story and I have a scene waiting to be written.  The heroine has come back to her home after being months away caring for a kinswoman with a new baby.  She arrives late, and she awakens in the night to the quiet sound of music.  Someone is sitting outside, softly playing a harp (it’s earlier times than now).  It’s lovely to listen to and she wonders who the musician is.

She is going to go out in search of the player and find the love of her life.  It will be a nice scene…  But I haven’t written it.  It has just been one of those difficult stretches of time that come for no particular reason.

Weather?  The raveled ends of old griefs?  (They say the first year after a bereavement is the worst).  I don’t know, but it has been a difficult week.

So what am I celebrating?

My friends, (whose comments I will answer this weekend, whose posts I will visit) I am here to tell you that the mood, ennui, exhaustion – whatever – is passing and I know I will be back to my usual form.  That  is something to celebrate, the knowledge that comes over time that moods do pass, energy does return, the world moves on and you move with it.

Maybe that isn’t exactly a small celebration.  It is, in fact, a lesson we learn after a long time.  What the heck!  I’m celebrating it anyhow.

And tonight…maybe…I’ll have her pause at the entry to the small courtyard, watching the harpist’s fingers move softly over the strings, and have her meet his gaze – and watch his face, somber in repose, warm into a sudden smile.

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This is a blog hop thought of by delightful, funny, enjoyable and very nice Viklit.  It is, for me, a way to remember how happy and fortunate I am, and how I am surrounded by good people.  (Thoreau said, “I have never gotten over my surprise at having been born in the most estimable part of the world – yes, and in the very nick of time”)

Why don’t you join?  It will certainly make you smile once a week!