MISFIT DOC: Suggested Reading List For A Midlife Crisis

“For smart, goal-driven women, a mid-life crisis isn’t about recovering lost youth. It’s about discovering the application of their greatness.”     –Marcia Reynolds

Editor’s Note: In the vast body of self-help literature and self-conscious memoir, I submit some recent additions for your consideration. I certainly do not think these books are “great” by any stretch of the imagination, but if you are looking for something to do on a dreary Sunday, and you would like some perspective, these books will certainly fill you with gratitude for your own life’s path.


Surviving Your Spouse’s Midlife Crisis

An excerpt: “The benefit of being married to someone eight years my senior is that he goes through life events first and I take careful notes. Take for example the midlife crisis. Several years ago, he came home from work in such a state that for one of the first times in our marriage, I didn’t know what to say. He finally confessed that job dissatisfaction and our hectic life on the east coast was taking a toll on him that he could only describe as a midlife crisis.

‘The get-a-girlfriend and buy a sports car kind of midlife crisis?’

‘No,’ he thought for a moment. ‘The quit-my-job and move kind.’

I told him I’d rather he get a girlfriend and a car.”

Reader Review: 2.5 out of 5 Mazda Miatas. “Occasionally funny, but her poor husband!”

Surviving Midlife Crisis: A Philosophical Digression

Synopsis:   A young woman arrives at midlife crisis well ahead of schedule as she is known as a serial over-achiever. Suffering from long periods of existential angst, she asks herself unanswerable questions on the meaning of life. She toils in philosophy for years. The questions remain unanswerable, but she is now able to clearly elucidate the sources of her angst as Kantian or Nietzsche-ian. She still looks into the abyss, but realizes it continues to be dark and she never liked Kierkegaard. She steps away from the cliff edge and returns to life as usual.

Reader Review: 2 out of 5 Sartres. “I went through my own existential crisis at 24, so her claims for over-achievement are exaggerated. Besides, she didn’t read enough Schopenhauer.”

Seriously! Why Haven’t You Figured This Out Yet?

Synopsis: A circle of friends becomes increasingly disconnected as one woman continues to seek her life’s true passion. After being admonished by her friends to “settle down!” she learns to keep her yearnings and longings to herself while everyone else moves up their respective career ladders. She misses monthly book club, baby showers, and quarterly wine tastings. But she can’t say any of them have missed her.

Reader Review: 1 out of 5 carafes. “Kinda whiney. Would dump her from book club for sure, especially after she recommended De Botton’s The Consolations of Philosophy…”

When Your Child Goes Through a Midlife Crisis: A Guide for Parents

Synopsis: A women in midlife seeks parental approval for life choices. As she pursues art, philosophy, photography, and eventually writing, her parents shake their heads while being quietly grateful she was married off at a young age. Parents make the case that getting caller i.d., and moving without giving your children your new address, might be the best courses of action.

Reader Review: 3 out of 5 empty nests. “At least she left home. My 43-year old son still lives with us.”

Strategies for Ignoring Everyone or How to Take More Naps

Synopsis: Everyone has advice for this author, which she deflects by pretending she didn’t hear it correctly, or by burrowing down in her bed cocoon of tumble-dry warm sheets. Fighting against 48 hour work days and only 12 hour weekends, she must make a decision about what to do next in her life. But not before taking another nap.

Reader Review: 3.7 out of 5 Bombecks. “Not as vulgar as The Blogess and not as funny as Irma, but you could do worse.”   

Leaving Your Career Behind: How to be Professional When No One Else Is

An excerpt: “Everyone dreams of that moment of slapping a resignation letter on their boss’s desk and seeing the boss’s lip quivering, face blanching, and hearing the blubbering of a counter-offer. But sometimes, it’s just as gratifying to say, ‘Thanks for the opportunity; time to move on,’ then, shaking hands and packing boxes. You don’t want a goodbye party. It’s simply time to leave.”

Reader Review: 4.5 out of 5 resumes. “Yes! I’ve been wanting to quit my job too! I mean, I wouldn’t exactly do it like this author did (really? teaching?), but, yes!”

The Next Big Thing: Beyond the Crisis (spring 2016 release)

An excerpt: “How do you know you love your life? When Sunday is not a depressing version of pre-Monday anymore. For the first time in years, I’m having the almost-forgotten experience of looking forward to the week beginning again.”

Reader Comment: 1 out of 5 stars. “I’m not going to read this one. It already sounds too happy. She was funnier when I first discovered her years ago. But, I gave it one star because I like that other book she wrote, the one with the blue cover.”


Murison writes, reads, and consumes too much coffee and dark chocolate in the high desert mountain town of Flagstaff, Arizona.

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