Wondering about “boomer lit”

Of late I have been pitching my novel, Four Women.  What I realized in some of the helpful rejections is what Chuck Sambuchino said at a writing conference last week.  When he asks a writer, Who is your audience? and gets the response “Everyone,” he knows the writer is on the wrong path.

My novel is about the lives of a family with three daughters, set in the 1950’s and early ’60 in Middle America.  It’s just before the beginning of the Second Wave of feminism, and the women in this family, mother and three daughters, are living their lives under what a gifted writer friend called the “hushed mid-twentieth century desperation.” I was really struck with the accuracy of that description. Much of what women faced then was both hushed and desperate. It would take decades of striving and fall-backs to realize that women were not “bad” for wanting voice, growth, impact.  

In this context, I’m looking into what is called “baby boomer lit.” Not unlike the “chick lit” phenomenon, such a movement could bolster so many voices of those born after the end of World War II, women, particularly, whose stories can now be heard, shared, celebrated.  

To some extent, I also explored these issues in my memoir, Searching for Nannie B:  Connecting Three Generations of Southern Women.

Female Energy

Aside from the troubling , combative aspects of the current political scene, I find Hillary Clinton’s journey to become the first women nomination for POTIS fascinating.  I think back on the voices of women who have been forgotten or erased. I think of Abigail Adam’s letter to her husband John in which she reminded him to not “forget the ladies” in the forming of this new country, her warning that we would “foment a revolution” if women were ignored.

Well, it took over two hundred years for us to see a woman candidate for president.That’s something, isn’t it?

Last night an amazing Arizona women, Jerry Emmett, 102 years old, made the Arizona roll call at the DNC.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvAeSA4ACfs

We knew Jerry when we lived in Prescott Arizona for a few years. What an awesome story!  She remembers her mother voting for the first time in 1920, after the 19th Amendment was passed.  She has attended most of the Democratic conventions, and  much of her life has been devoted to support of women.  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/27/jerry-emmett-hillary-clinton-supporter-centernarian-arizona

I’m so happy Jerry was able to participate in this historic moment.

In the Context of Love

Despite the bleak beginning of “Context,” when Angelica takes her two children to see their father, Gavin, in prison, the novel turns into a love story with many surprises and twists of plot. Written as a love letter to Angelica’s first love, Joe Vardas, Sienkiewicz’s narrative offers complex characters and unexpected plot twists. She has crafted a tale that maintains tension throughout, from the early scenes of high school romance and Joe’s mysterious disappearance, to revelations of dark secrets which Angie discovers as the story progresses.

The book is a page-turner, in part because of the uncertainty about Joe’s fate, but also because Angie encounters surprises which change her concept of who she is. She is a questioner, and with her, we question the significance of all that she finds; we experience what she experiences.

Another unique aspect of the book is the author’s subtle irony. Her depiction of Gavin’s dysfunctional family (“They never receive guests, and they couldn’t renovate a dog house,” Gavin tells her) is astute and detailed. The voice of the author moves from serious , intense and questioning to ironic, and she provides realistic pictures of characters which help to understand their temperaments and origins.

I strongly recommend this book as an engaging, very human story.


Writer. Editor. Teacher.