Odes and Prose for Older Women by Diana Wells
|Odes and Prose for Older Women by Diana Wells|
|Category: Short Stories|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A collection which will have you laughing and crying but if you're a woman of a certain age you'll have a wry smile on your face right through the book. Diana Wells popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 225||Date: September 2013|
I am, of course, not an older woman and nether is Diana Wells. We were born in the same year and we are what is best described as 'upper middle aged', but - perhaps in anticipation of what is to come - Diana has collected together her writings on the subject and I read through them in two sittings (the break was enforced) and I laughed and cried, but the wry smile of recognition never left my face from beginning to end. There are about eighty five short stories and odes - with none more than a few pages long - written, we are told, from observation, experience or imagination and I can only conclude that Wells has led a very rich life.
I have my favourites. Mr Malapropism P is verse about a man who mixes up words beginning with P - saying 'profiterole' when he means 'peripheral' for instance. We all have our favourite tales of word being mixed up ('her car followed the funeral courgette to the cemetery' is one which I always quote) but it takes a great degree of skill to play so nimbly and convincingly with just the one letter - and to do it in verse. Menopause and Other Feminine Trials is a musing on the subject of exactly what such matters - menopause, menstruation and premenstrual have to do with men and why it is that men see postmenopausal life as being one of unfettered sex whilst women are rather hoping... Hmm, well let's not go there! You'll laugh - promise - particularly when you see the final word on the matter.
My final favourite of the odes is Elderly Calm - a state which some women achieve (and which they will have earned) in which their inner calm and acceptance of the world as it is spreads to others - and even to children and unruly puppies. We've all met those people - I just want the recipe! In the prose writing it's far more difficult to pick a favourite, but I finally opted for Scandal Over Tea. I knew it would be brilliant when I read the first line:
Beattie's funeral was a terrific success - they all agreed.
It's an elegant, incisive look at the characters of four friends going to a funeral. I loved Irene who ought to spend one last penny just as everyone was safely in the car - and Charisse who thought that the fact that two of the party were regular church goers gave them all rights to better seats for the service. It's sharp, but it's never unkind. Adultery made me cry - and bless the value and strength of female friendship and Foreign Attraction made me nod wisely at the bravery of a young girl from Taiwan who had not done well enough in her university exams to be allowed to stay in the UK, but who could have taken an easy route around her problem.
Older women will probably appreciate the book more than those in the first flush of life, but it's a real pleasure to read and I'm only glad that Diana Wells decided to bring the collection together rather than risk it being thrown away after her death.
Diana is not the only writer in the Wells family - I thoroughly enjoyed reading her husband's stories of his life as a pilot, of the nautical variety.
You can read more about Diana Wells here.
Diana Wells was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy Odes and Prose for Older Women by Diana Wells at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Odes and Prose for Older Women by Diana Wells at Amazon.com.
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