As a life-long, die-hard George Clooney worshiper, I must tell you upfront that Marrying George Clooney: Confessions of a Midlife Crisis, by Amy Ferris, is not a story about the man that can knock me over with his eyebrows, the tenor of his voice, or his unflinching stare. Yet even against those impossible standards, Ferris’ book does not disappoint. Instead, it’s an hysterical romp through the depths of menopause with a parallel glimpse at her own mother’s decline into dementia and Ferris’ own marriage. How she juggles these subjects with such rich humor but enough underlying sincerity simply dumbfounded me.
For most of the book, Ferris had me laughing out loud about her antics at all hours of the night through her relentless insomnia, while she’s either wreaking havoc on the computer or fighting a wild sense of hypochondria for herself or her loved ones.
While reading, I’d cackle until whoever was in the room shrugged and said, “What?” Then I’d flap my arms re-reading the previous scene aloud. If I was alone reading, after awhile, I couldn’t bear the quaking laughter alone, so I’d tear through the house searching for someone to hear the scene.
Like this one between Ferris and her mother, in the clutches of dementia, fighting about where she should live, where Ferris says:
“ . . . can’t we agree on anything at this ungodly hour?”
“And when is it a godly hour?”
“Well. I’d say after 10:00am, that’s usually a very godly hour.”
“Sure, if god were a prima dona that would be a good time to get in touch. My god, the one I pray to and talk to and cry to, my god, he gets up at four in the morning. He doesn’t waste a fucking moment. You need something, boom, he’s there, done, taken care of. Your god sounds lazy and irresponsible.”
Yes, I was reading quotes from a book about menopause to my fifteen-year-old daughter. But significantly, she was cracking up almost as much as I was. This book is not only for women in menopause. Even my husband couldn’t control his snickers at Ferris’ irreverent comedy.
Other times, Ferris handles the toughest moments surrounding her mother’s dementia and marriage with the kind of tender language I want to post on the cork board above my desk, so I never forget—never overwrought or sentimental, and always with just the touch of humor that Ferris clearly views her world.
For example, she defines marriage as described by a friend’s young son as follows:
“It’s about having a very special place for your toothbrush right next to Daddy’s toothbrush. It’s so those toothbrushes are never lonely. And you can clean his toothbrush and not tell him, and he can clean your toothbrush and not tell you, and that would be very nice. And you’ll have clean teeth. “
Instantly, I thought of all the strongest relationships I know, and I could actually imagine them doing this.
As Ferris says at one point in the book, she and her mother come to “meet in the middle” in more ways than one. As readers of Marrying George Clooney, we are able to meet her in middle of this journey, too, through the depth of the subject matter and—despite her bawdy prose—the delicate way in which Ferris treats the fundamental issues of life, love and death, up and down the rollercoaster that is humanity.
Featured image photo credit: Stuck At Home by JD Hancock is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.