Like all the best books, The Slippery Year reminds us that we are not alone – not alone in our fears about our kids, not alone in our struggle to make meaning of our lives, and most definitely not alone in our volcanic rages about the car pool line. Melanie Gideon is a wonderful companion – smart, rueful and painfully funny. Truly, the one thing wrong with this book is that it had to end.
—Allison Pearson, author of I Don’t Know How She Does It
“We are all so curious. Hungry for the truth. If only we could ask the questions we really want to ask of each other and get the real answers. Like how many times a month do you have sex? What prescription drugs are you on? Are you happy? Really happy? Happy enough?”
For anybody who has ever wondered privately Is this all there is, Melanie Gideon’s poignant, hilarious, exuberant meditation, The Slippery Year, chronicles a year in which she confronts both the fantasies of her receding youth and the realities of midlife with a husband, a child, and a dog (one of whom runs away). She reflects on the exigencies of domesticity—the need for a household catastrophe plan, the fainting spell occasioned by the departure of her nine-year-old son for camp, the mattress wars, and the carpool line. With tenderness, unsparing honesty, and uproarious wit, Gideon brings us back again and again to the sweetness of ordinary pleasures and to life’s most enduring satisfactions. She captures perfectly that moment right before everything changes and the things we have loved forever begin to fall away for the first time.
The Slippery Year is the story of a woman’s quest to reignite passion, beauty, and mystery and discover if “happily ever after” is a possibility after all.
Melanie Gideon was born and raised in Rhode Island. She now lives in the Bay Area with her husband and son.
Our Q&A with Melanie Gideon:
Q: What is a “Slippery Year”?
A: Simply put, a Slippery Year is a year in which we are in the process of transformation. We’ve got one arm in the coat of our old life (a coat that no longer fits us—the sleeves are too short) and one arm in the coat of our new life (which doesn’t fit us yet either—the sleeves are too long). A Slippery Year is a call to awaken. Change is coming for you, whether you like it or not.
Q: Why did you decide to write about yours?
A: Change came for me in the form of the tricked-out, jacked up, four-by-four van with a diesel engine and a cattle guard on its front bumper that my husband bought over the Internet. He had all these dreams of our driving to Baja in it, of living an adventurous life. Well, I hated the thing on sight. It was so enormous it barely fit in our driveway. Obviously this was his midlife crisis vehicle. But there was one problem. He wasn’t going through a midlife crisis—I was. In fact, he was sailing through midlife doing exactly what all the literature said you should do! Find new hobbies! Take up new sports. Ingest fish oil tablets. No, I was the one stuck, unwilling to push myself out of my comfort zone. Somehow, when I wasn’t paying attention (which was most of the time), I had slipped outside of my life, and I knew if I didn’t do something about it I might slip out of my life for good.
Meet Melanie Gideon on her book tour