Why We Can't Sleep

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

I received this book early from Netgalley. This book gave me validation.  I am not alone, I am not imagining things and I am going to be ok.  There was a lot of research that went into this book and it should be required reading for any generation that wants to understand Women in Generation X.  I have gained insight that I didn’t have before and most likely will read this book again.
Was this review helpful?
Unlike many 'self help' books which suggest they hold the answers to life's mysteries, Why We Can't Sleep helps the reader find real answers, helping them to see and understand the time and society we've lived in. As a gay male born on the cusp of the boomer/GenX divide, I found so much truth and realizations while reading Ada Calhoun's beautifully researched book. This book is by no means a downer. Calhoun has woven the stories from many women she interviewed, with her own life experiences, and combining them in actual, historical context-- unveils many truths about where we are now and how we got here. Even though this book focuses on, and is geared towards women of a certain age-- there are plenty of truths for us all to learn from.  Fascinating reading.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for potentially providing a review.  That said, this book was written for me.  The author, Ada Calhoun, is clear from the start that her target audience is middle class women from Generation X.  She gives a well-reasoned explanation for why she doesn't include other groups in this book.  That doesn't mean other people can't read it.  In fact, if you are trying to understand a middle class Gen-X woman, read this book.  

I related on a very deep level to the stories of the women Ada interviewed.  Spoiler alert: they are not all happy.  However, there is comfort in knowing you are not the only person facing a particular dilemma.  And in this case, knowing that the existential crisis that often overwhelms your thoughts might be affecting many women in your generation.  Lucky us!  The author also does a good job of showing how mid-life is different for Gen Xers than it was for Boomers and will be for Millennials. 

So if you are on the verge of melting down over life stress, pop a couple of Tylenol for the existential dread and read this book.  It won't solve your problems, but it might give you some insight into why life sucks right now.
Was this review helpful?
Sleepy?
Can’t sleep?
Wonder about others sleeping habits? 

The author primarily focuses on Generation X women....
but....if you find yourself awake in the middle of the night ....you won’t feel alone after reading ‘this’ book!

Ha... I read this during the middle of the night.

Ada Calhoun did her research!!!
She interviewed thousands of women around the country.  
We get insights about what concerns Generation X women......
single women - divorce women - women with or without children - women working three jobs - women who had gotten a good education- and women who stayed in shape. 
These women woke in the middle of the night wondering about alternate life choices they might have made in their lives - or had fears about aging - money - etc...
They have been hit hard financially and dismissed culturally. They have lots of debt. They’re squeezed on both sides by children and aging parents. The grim state of adulthood is hitting them hard. Many are exhausted and bewildered. 

Generation X women were the first women raised from birth hearing the cliché
‘having it all’— they thought they could have careers and a rich home life. They were an experiment in crafting a higher achieving, more fulfilling, and more well rounded version of the American women.  By midlife, many found that the experiment was largely failing.  

The boomer generation said they were the first to hear “they could have it all”.... but it wasn’t until Gen X arrived that it was a main stream expectation. 

Millennials claim they’re supposed to ‘have it all’ , too. 
They have crushing student loan debts. 
They are experiencing social and economic inequality, poisonous political polarization,   and a rapidly changing world.  

“More opportunity has not necessarily lead to greater happiness or satisfaction”.

One in four middle-aged American women is on antidepressants. Nearly 60% of those born between 1965 and 1979 described themselves as stressed. 

I felt sad for many Gen X women. Yet, I felt I understood their struggles and concerns. I lived through many of the same issues when younger, too. 

Many Generation X women had confusing feelings that they were embarrassed to talk about. 
Generation X women reported being unhappy,  depressed or exhausted.
They felt they needed to apologize for ‘whining’. 
Intellectually they understood that they were ‘lucky’. 
The women were fighting with how they really felt - vs. what they felt they should feel.  It’s a hard place to be stuck in. 

On an up note .... the cycles of life shine through. Many of the concerns for women in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, even 50’s....magically begin to clear up.  Things get better. Inner peace is around the corner.  Older - post menopausal women may have more wrinkles- but a calmness experience hits them in ways they were not able to experience as easily when they were young - ambitious- driven-  with grand desires.  

I related with the authors findings about women in their 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s.
“Middle-aged women have perspective enough to see what’s important and what isn’t”.   Agree! 

Just the other day an interesting article came out about how reading at night  helped people fall to sleep. 
I posted the article on Facebook ( fitting with reading this book)....
I got funny responses from my middle aged female friends - saying ...things like “not me”.....
they kept ‘on’ reading ‘through’ the night...
nothing depressing about it.

Kudos to Ada Calhoun for her extensive research exploring this topic. 
I found it heartwarming to connect with women 
around the world who shared authentically. 

Thank you Grove Atlantic, Netgalley, and Ada Calhoun
Was this review helpful?
This was a very informative read. I myself have trouble sleeping and there was some insight in the book as to why that could be. Well done
Was this review helpful?
I think this was a very informative book and it can help people not feel so alone in what they are going through and life situations and what truly can keep a person up at night. As much as I wanted to connect with it on an emotional level, I just couldn't. I appreciated the statistics presented and the work put in it but personally, it was not for me.

** Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with the digital copy of this book in exchange for my review **
Was this review helpful?
I'm glad this book exists, but as a millennial I didn't find much to relate to (to her credit, the author admits this straight off the bat). However, as the author also says, I did relate to some of it and even more importantly, I had a better understanding of the smallest generation, Gen X. My parents are firmly Boomers but I have a few friends who fall slightly in the Gen X camp and this book gave me a better understanding of the world they grew up in. I think the only disappointment for me was that there was nothing in the title that insinuated it was primarily for Gen X except that I suppose millennials haven't quite reached midlife yet (though we are barreling toward it). The author makes some salient points and the women she interviews are various and interesting. I recommend this book particularly for Gen X women, but even for the wider community of women and men if only to understand one of the groups of people that society has spent the least amount of time considering.
Was this review helpful?
This book resonated with me, especially since I’m a member of Generation X who’s having trouble sleeping. It was fun and eye-opening to read about the culture we grew up in, our shared experiences, and the reasons we are the way we are today. I would love to share this in a book club setting, discussing it among friends my age. Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and especially Ada Calhoun for sharing this well-written , well-researched book with us! I can’t wait to read her other books!
Was this review helpful?
As a Generation X woman I can relate to this book. I haven't seen many books that target middle-aged woman recently so Why We Can't Sleep caught my interest. 
A good read for women in their 40's.
Was this review helpful?
For some reason as I have gotten older my sleeping has been so off. I was always a night owl but lately I have been barely sleeping throughout the night. I always wake up at different times and feel groggy the next day but push myself through. This was an excellent novel and gave me lots of information. I highly recommend if you are having trouble sleeping.
Was this review helpful?
As a member of Generation X (I'm only a year younger than the author) I hoped to find this book insightful and relatable. Instead I found it depressing and anxiety producing. It is well written and the topic is 'interesting'. But I was hoping for a more personal read that would help me to examine my own life and its phases. What I got was an onslaught of mostly sad stories and information that made me feel like my worst years were in front of me. (Or maybe even happening now - and I don't realize it!)
Was this review helpful?
I was so intrigued when I saw an email pop up in my mail about this book.  Being a woman of 49, I was curious about whether or not I was the only one who felt lost, tired and underappreciated while moving into my next faze of life.  Considering what I want to do for the next 15-20 years as a college educated woman that decided to stay home and raise 2 young men.  This book was spot on.  Here we go ladies!  Gen X women unite!
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved this book. As a Gen X woman, I felt seen and heard. A little depressed, but validated. I read it in a day and highly recommend it to all Gen X women. It was like a journey through the past that reminded me of things that I had forgotten about or never realized that they had an affect on my life now as a wife and mother.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed Ada Calhoun's previous book "Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give," which was a candid look at marriage, so I was quite looking forward to this new title. While I'm slightly younger than the book's Gen X demographic, I found myself relating to so much of what Calhoun was saying. As a working mother, I often feel overwhelmed, exhausted, anxious, and just vaguely, can't-quite-put-my-finger-on-why, unhappy. Reading this book was like having a gossipy (in the best sense of the word) heart-to-heart with a best friend who understands what you're going through. It's such a relief to be validated in what you're feeling and to know, as cliche as it sounds, that you're not alone.
Was this review helpful?
Oh my gosh, such a depressing book. Detail after detail about how women are between rocks and hard places with too little air between the cracks.
Was this review helpful?
This is a book written for women who were born between the baby boomers and the millennials, we are known as generation x or gen-x. I happen to fall into this category myself.

This book made me realize that there is an entire generation of women who have the same or similar thoughts, fears and concerns like I have. They feel like our lives and generation have been formed by the events that happened around us. We are constantly doing while society is telling us to take time for ourselves. How can we do that when we need to keep moving?

This book was definitely a surprise to me. I was originally pulled in by the title an I am glad that I was.
Was this review helpful?
Sometimes the right book comes into your life just when you need it. This was the book I didn't know that I needed and now I want to get copies of it for all of my friends who are middle-aged Gen-Xers. Heck, I want to get copies for my Boomer and Millennial friends, too, because we should all be talking about it! I cannot wait until its January 2020 release and hope that I get to discuss it with my friends soon after it is published. I'm not typically a re-reader, but this is going to be one of those books that I plan to revisit. I didn't realize how much I needed a book like this, but it made me feel connected to other women my age in a way I wasn't expecting. It was almost like the author had interviewed me and translated things I've been thinking, feeling, and experiencing at this stage of my life onto the written page. The perspective it provided was just what I needed; it feels good to know that I'm not alone and I hope this book ends up being a conversation starter when it comes out.

When I read the book's description, I thought it sounded interesting but wondered if it would be focused mainly on the issues of married, middle-aged Gen-X women with children. Since that's not my experience, I was hesitant but still curious enough to give it a try. I'm so glad that I did. While it does deal with those issues, it also talks about the challenges of child-free, single middle-aged Gen-X women, too. I felt like even the chapters that weren't specifically about my own experience were still incredibly illuminating and spoke to me in ways I wasn't expecting. 

I liked the way the material was presented and the amount of research that went into this book; the material was easy to digest and covered a range of issues (including the myth of having it all and feeling guilty if "all" isn't had (and the fact this doesn't apply to men), work, deciding not to work outside the home, family, being single, being married, having kids or not, promotions, hormone fluctuations, perimenopause, and menopause). It didn't feel like a dry recitation of facts, but rather an objective portrayal of what middle-aged Gen-X women are feeling and why. This isn't just a retelling of the author's own experiences (or those of her friends) in navigating mid-life. When she included anecdotes about herself, I felt they were relevant to the points she was making and didn't feel preachy or judgy. The balance was just right. 

Many thanks to Grove Press for allowing me to read an early copy of this book via NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
A book on life real life issues Gen-x women face .Well researched well written saw myself on so many pages a book my friends will be reading ,and sharing great for book club discussions.# netgalley #groveatlantic,
Was this review helpful?
While I consider myself on the young end of generation X or a very old millennial, I really identified with this book. This book provides an eye-opening look at the societal factors that helped shape generation x, women specifically, in ways that we’re/they’re still grappling with today. 

Like every generation before me, I’ve always felt like my life was shaped by the world events that occurred during my formative years: the Challenger explosion, Operation Desert Storm, the Clinton impeachment scandal, 9-11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, then the Great Recession 0f 2008. All of these events hit me and my friends in ways that greatly shaped the people we have become and our political and social beliefs. This book dives into these events and suggests that maybe the reason we’re all anxious and despondent about today’s issues could be related to these events. 

I highly, highly recommend this book not just for Generation X women, but for anyone looking to understand how the events of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s affected today’s 30 and 40 somethings. I also learned a lot about how Generation X compares to the Boomers and millennials, both of which are groups I deal a lot with and sometimes, have trouble understanding. 

*thanks so much to the publisher and NetGalley for my advanced reader copy in exchange for this honest review!*
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book, perfect for women in the middle years of life. This book was generously provided to me through NetGalley.  Highly Recommended!
Was this review helpful?