Joe Ollman

Mid-LIfe by Joe Ollman

In the library the other day, they had a “special” display of books of things to do after you turn 50. Most of them were how to get the most out of your final years.  Among all the good advice about declining gracefully was a graphic novel, published by Drawn and Quarterly, and just about anything they put out is worth  your attention–if you are ever in Montreal, you have to visit their shop.  Well this book in not about aging gracefully, but instead it follows John’s attempt to figure out what you do when you are on your second marriage with a young son and two grown daughters, when your job has lost its allure, when you come across the CDs of a children’s singer, who you are attracted to.  The book has two threads, the disillusioned mid-lifer and the somewhat disillusioned thirty-something who gave up trying to be a success writing for adults and took up being a kids performer.  It doesn’t go so well for anyone.The singer might be getting her own TV show, but attracted to John, she realises he is lying to her and leading her on, and John gets close to cheating on his second wife, but in the end he resolves to”talk to my wife and think her for tolerating all of my ‘endearing foibles.’ I’m going to tell her what went on down here and what didn’t and see where that leaves me.”  That in the end there maybe a “new start with my new positive self.  I’ll tell her not to worry.  I’ll still be mostly bitchy.”  this is a journey into the dank, dark caves of mid-life male insecurity drawn and quartered, but told by an author who pulls you along as you want to turn away.