'Highs in the Low Fifties' a bold, witty, wild memoir (review)

If Marion Winik's Highs in the Low Fifties: How I Stumbled Through the Joys of Single Living were a novel, I can imagine an editor telling her to take out this part and that part and this one, too, as those things are just a bit too bizarre for readers to believe. Especially too hard to believe that one character went through it all, did it all.

Went through it all and did it all, Winik did, though. And she bares all the adventure, all the despair — along with all the undeniably funny — right there for one and all to see in her recent memoir. The writing is tight, the stories outlandish but true, the reading of the book a bit like being unable to look away from a car accident... then being thankful you stuck around.

I recently received Highs in the Low Fifties free for review. The accompanying press release called the author "a cross between Nora Ephron and David Sedaris," so I knew I was in for a treat despite the subject matter being such that it likely wouldn't resonate. I was right on both counts.

Considering Winik’s wild and wacky world in contrast to my lifestyle as long-time married fairly unadventurous grandmother, it's a no-brainer that we don't have much in common, that little might resonate (though we do share a fondness for Joseph Fiennes and disdain for excessive exclamation marks). Some of Winik's recollections of disastrous intimate encounters — told with surprising wit and warmth, I admit — were a tad hard to swallow.

But I admired Winik's candor, her writing, her turn of (unusual) tale, so I kept reading. And I'm glad I did because it was in the final essays that I came to appreciate the road she'd been on and her lessons learned along the way.

Winik's courageous memoir reveals a life far different from mine, one in which she dares to live to the fullest, wringing every last drop of lust and love out of it as she seeks a long-term relationship at a later age. While I may not relate to what she's been through, it's impossible not to admire how deftly, how bravely she shares it.

Highs in The Low Fifties: How I Stumbled Through the Joys of Single Living by Marion Winik has a suggested price of $21.95 (hardcover) and is available wherever books are sold. Find out more about the author and her books on her website.

Disclosure: I received this book free for review; all opinions are my own.