What do you do when you’re told you’ve got terminal cancer at 50? Take up crochet, get religion and bow out gracefully? Or upend your life and spend every remaining minute exploring new pleasures?
Ruby has always been the generous mediator among her friends, family and colleagues, which is why they have all turned up to celebrate her 50th birthday. But after a few too many glasses of champers, Ruby’s speech doesn’t exactly go to plan. Instead of delivering the witty and warm words her guests are expecting, Ruby takes her moment in the spotlight to reveal what she really thinks of every one of them. She also accuses her husband, Harry, of having an affair.
Saving the best till last, Ruby lambasts her octogenarian mother for a lifetime of playing her three daughters against each other. It’s blisteringly brutal. As the stunned gathering gawks at Ruby, the birthday girl concludes her bravura monologue with the throwaway comment that she has terminal cancer. This is the opening chapter of Kathy Lette’s hilarious new novel, and the tone is set. Ruby has taken a very funny, highly outrageous blowtorch to everyone, everything, and ultimately, her life. Happy 50th!
Waking up the next day, she not only has a hangover from hell, but life is rather different now. Including more news from the doctor’s office… this time better, but it puts her in an incredibly awkward situation.
She has cashed in her life savings and plans on taking her two sisters cruising into the sunset for a dose of Husband Replacement Therapy. Courageous? Or ruthlessly selfish? But, do they even want to go with her now that she’s cast herself off into social Siberia? Best not mention the latest update from her doctor, and instead just get them on that boat.
Kathy Lette is the queen of the one-liner, as she takes us on this cruise liner… which turns out to be a Cougar Cruise – with older women there to meet younger men. Not quite what Olivia and her sisters had expected, but ship ahoy anyway.
As expected, there are outrageous scenes, an array of brilliant characters, and countless very funny lines in Kathy’s latest novel, but more than that, there’s a brilliant sense of sisterhood – female friendship and relationships are important, and there is a celebration of ‘the next age’ meaning 50 and beyond. And for me, who’s not long over that hump, it gave me cause for celebration.
We recently had Kathy launch HRT on the Better Reading Facebook Page, and for the many thousands of you who watched it, you know how entertaining and warm and wonderful she is. (If you haven’t seen the event, check it out here…) Husband Replacement Therapy is the same. It’s entertaining, but with a lot of heart, and a great big dollop of female empowerment.
Highly recommended for women of all ages, but essential reading for the over fifties. Fun, funny and utterly fabulous.