A Year by the Sea: 08/06/06
Women who hit their midlife crisis point seem to go to the ocean to write a memoir. Sometimes it works, like Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea and sometimes it misfires like A Year by the Sea. Throughout the book I could not relate to most of Anderson's life-changing insights. She writes of wanting to be "completed" by her husband and sons and not understanding how one can "laugh at one's self." While I adore my husband and children, I do not judge myself by them nor do I feel "incomplete" without them. Yes, I can function as an individual and I frequently laugh at myself.
The were only two chapters where I connected with the author. The first was when she met the feisty older woman, also named Joan, who is so self reliant and gutsy that she's able and willing to give Anderson the stern talking to that she needs. The second time is when the water heater breaks and the author has to spend a week clamming with her fishermen friends. It was the first time she shows any true initiative and manages to accomplish her goal of getting her water heater fixed.
Here's my BookCrossing review:
I didn't enjoy A Year by the Sea as much as I did A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Lindbergh had gone to the beach already a strong, confident and happy person, so her time away from her friends and family was one of renewal and introspection. Anderson's trip to the seaside was done out of desperation and so the tone of her book is filled with loneliness, self doubt and sometimes self loathing. While she does come around by the end of the book the process is painful at times to read. I just wanted to take her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her. I think my reaction is one of a personality difference. I am more like Lindbergh and less like Anderson.