January 2020 Indie Next List
“I eagerly snatched this book up, hoping it would offer a magic cure-all for the 4:00 a.m. insomnia that plagues me on a regular basis. Instead, I found solace and comfort, if not in a full eight hours, in the fact that I wasn’t alone in staring into the dark in the middle of the night, brain on a carousel, getting pissed and feeling miserable. About most everything. It all makes sense now: I’m not an anomaly or a sleepless loner, I’m part of a larger pattern, a cycle created by the culture of a certain generation — Generation X. Why We Can’t Sleep gives hope and validation and takes away some of the worry. Although this book is specific to Gen Xers, I think their Baby Boomer parents and their Millennial children will also benefit from reading this fascinating generational study.”
— Rani Birchfield, Front Street Books, Alpine, TX
A generation-defining exploration of the new midlife crisis facing Gen X women and the unique circumstances that have brought them to this point, Why We Can't Sleep is a lively successor to Passages by Gail Sheehy and The Defining Decade by Meg Jay.
When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too?
Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data. At every turn, she saw a pattern: sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, Gen X women were facing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlooked.
Speaking with women across America about their experiences as the generation raised to "have it all," Calhoun found that most were exhausted, terrified about money, under-employed, and overwhelmed. Instead of being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take "me-time," or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in order.
In Why We Can't Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X's predicament and offers solutions for how to pull oneself out of the abyss--and keep the next generation of women from falling in. The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle-aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them.
About the Author
ADA CALHOUN is the author of the memoir Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give, named an Amazon Book of the Month and one of the top ten memoirs of 2017 by W magazine; and the history St. Marks Is Dead, one of the best books of 2015, according to Kirkus and the Boston Globe. She has collaborated on several New York Times bestsellers, and written for the New York Times, New York, and The New Republic.