In her recently updated novel, Sharon Phennah yanks the realities of our aging society out of the closet, creating a positive blueprint for growing older.
This is a refreshing tale of three friends reunited in their new world of retirement, wrinkles, and grandchildren. Unlike what you’d expect from a story about older folks, the tone is spicy, sexy, and sassy! Additionally, the musings of the women’s anthropomorphized animal companions definitely deserves front-page billing.
The story begins when, despite fears about media coverage of their descending derrieres, the women stage a 1960s roof-top “sit-in” designed to stave off the destruction of the local historic five-and-dime store. These concerns are soon overshadowed by real-world consequences of this action.
Undaunted, the trio carry on through an unwanted trial, a natural disaster, the death of a parent, and a younger woman friend’s romantic tribulations. Combined with the “racier” considerations of aging, these events create a memorable year for the three friends. A Greek chorus of critics, alter-egos, and plain curmudgeons, their canine and feline companions share their interior universe and parallel lives as they help the women contend with these powerful outside forces.
It’s hard to pick which event is the show-stopper in this story—there are tenderly broached high- stress topics of domestic violence, molestation, and other social injustices—but the novel doesn’t surrender the beauty, charm, good will, and humor within its characters, human and animal alike.
Resembling Joan Medlicott’s “Ladies of Covington” and having the attitude and tone of Janet Evanovich’s “Stephanie Plum,” You Can’t Iron A Wrinkled Birthday Suit offers a humorous and uplifting alternative to stereotypic notions about The Golden Years.