Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray
2012 Random House Audio
Reader: Coleen Marlo
Rating: 1/5 (Poor!)
A delightfully funny novel packing a clever punch, from the author of the New York Times bestselling Julie and Romeo.
A mom in her early fifties, Clover knows she no longer turns heads the way she used to, and she's only really missed when dinner isn't on the table on time. Then Clover wakes up one morning to discover she's invisible--truly invisible. She panics, but when her husband and son sit down to dinner, nothing is amiss. Even though she's been with her husband, Arthur, since college, her condition goes unnoticed. Her friend Gilda immediately observes that Clover is invisible, which relieves Clover immensely--she's not losing her mind after all!--but she is crushed by the realization that neither her husband nor her children ever truly look at her. She was invisible even before she knew she was invisible.
Clover discovers that there are other women like her, women of a certain age who seem to have disappeared. As she uses her invisibility to get to know her family and her town better, Clover leads the way in helping invisible women become recognized and appreciated no matter what their role. Smart and hilarious, with indomitable female characters, Calling Invisible Women will appeal to anyone who has ever felt invisible.
My daughter loves to shop. She has a great sense of style (graduated from TCU with a degree in Fashion Merchandising), is tall and lean and everything looks fabulous on her. Did I mention she’s also very beautiful?
I, on the other hand, do not care to shop. I used to enjoy wandering in and out of stores, buying clothes and household items I may or may not need, but at some point, I stopped enjoying this favorite pastime. However, every so often I need to head out to the mall or a big-box store to shop for things like new work clothes, a dress for a wedding, a new coffee maker or a shiny new bike. Several years ago, my cell phone died so I headed over to Best Buy to see what they had available. I spent quite a bit of time looking at all the phones in the case and eventually decided which one I wanted to buy. I must’ve been at the counter for at least 20 minutes and never once was acknowledged by either of the two clerks standing on the other side. It was obvious that I was shopping for a phone, yet neither one of these young men approached me. They weren’t busy with other customers. They simply failed to see me. I began to feel irritated that I was so rudely ignored. Didn’t they want to make a sale? Didn’t they realize I was a potential buyer of one of their expensive phones? Was I invisible?! It wasn’t until I finally spoke up and asked for help that I was acknowledged. I bought my phone, got it all set up and left in a foul mood. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t me, but rather the terrible service in Best Buy, but a thought kept nagging at me: Those young men would have jumped at the chance to help my beautiful, young daughter. I was invisible!
When I came upon Jeanne Ray’s latest novel, I thought it sounded like an entertaining read. I’ve certainly felt invisible or taken for granted at one time or another in my life and I was curious to see if Ray’s satire would amuse me. Unfortunately, the metaphor for invisibility was nothing but ridiculous and too far-fetched for this reader.
Final Thoughts: I enjoyed Ms. Ray’s Julie & Romeo, as well as Step-Ball-Change and Eat Cake, but this new novel had me shaking my head in disbelief.