Photo: ©Arlene Schindler
A notorious study conducted in the mid 1980s determined that a woman over the age of 40 has a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting married. Though that study was later found to be flawed, the thought lingers on in some even to this day. And even more so for women approaching 50, such as Sara, the protagonist of Arlene Schindler's sexy, heartfelt comedic novel, The Last Place She'd Look.
Sara is experiencing a dearth of romantic fulfillment, but it's not for lack of trying. We follow her awkward, painful, outrageous, hilarious search for love, happiness and a serious relationship from day spas to dominatrix dungeons, cheaters to narcissists. It's a romantic, thought-provoking middle-aged stew of 50 Shades of Grey, Bossypants, and "Sex and the City" -- Los Angeles version.
Sensual and desirous, Sara is frequently disappointed by and invisible to men deemed conventionally appropriate. She says, "My dating pool is getting so small, soon it will be the size of a shot glass."
Although the novel is perfect for women 40 and over in the dating pool, The Last Place She'd Look is filled with humor, insight, pain, defeat and sex that will be familiar and appealing to anyone who is in, has ever been in, or would like to be in the world of dating, including men. The novel deals, after all, to some extent, with a woman's insightful perception of men's perceptions of her:
"What did men see when they looked at me? Many times when our eyes met for the first time, I sensed they were saying, "Light me up, right now. Show me the magic of your hot, sexy love." Who can live up to that one-minute do-or-die first impression? Comedian Bill Maher said, "There comes a time when women should just forget about men. It's called menopause." Was this happening to me? Having spent most of my life as a celibate heterosexual, this was a tough concept to embrace. Then I thought, "Was I an unsuccessful heterosexual?" I'd been climbing the penis tree for so long, the results were seldom worth the hike. If I was as wonderful, funny, and interesting as most friends said I was, then why was finding a relationship so difficult?"
The Last Place She'd Look is a delicious and fun read that will resonate with anyone who's spent time in today's dating jungle, whosever doubted themselves and their romantic appeal, whosever gone a little wild in experimenting in order to make a romantic connection. Some may refer to this as "Chic Lit," but I couldn't put it down.
The author, Brooklyn-born Arlene Schindler, originated the comedy review column for The New York Post, with reviews and profiles of comedians appearing in New York City. She was a relationship expert/guest guru for America Online's Love-on-Line, and a writer/editor for WOMAN Magazine and Playgirl, as well as having written for The Los Angeles Times, Daily Variety and Creative Screenwriting. Arlene is also a regular on the spoken word circuit in Los Angeles, where she tells raucous tales about women's secrets and desires; the hidden sex lives of today's "mature" woman.