Cover Image: Act Like You're Having a Good Time

Act Like You're Having a Good Time

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Member Reviews

In her book of essays, “Act Like You're Having a Good Time,” memoirist Michele Weldon explains what it’s like to be a woman of substance, and to face life in the midst of ageism, racism and all the other “ism’s.”  

Life is full of conflicting advice. After all, her father tells her to "act like you're having a good time," then her mom turns around and says to "be graceful even if it kills you." Ah, the age old Catch 22. When is it finally time to stop acting and starting being? What is our purpose and what good are we doing in this world.

Michele is real and raw and is a breath of fresh air in the year that is 2020. While this isn't a book for my stage of life, it might be a great option for book club members who are nearing empty-nesterhood, and beyond.

Special thanks to Northwestern University Press, via NetGalley, for an electronic copy in exchange for my honest review.
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This is a collection of personal essays reflecting on life at 61.  Weldon covers so many topics, from single parenthood, cancer, the invisibility of women as we get to a certain age, the importance of friendship and the accumulation of things during a life. But a big theme is reflecting on where she thought she would be or the dreams she has not actualised by this point in her life.  It's very much a look at the passing of time, and being aware that there is less road to travel ahead than that which has already been covered.  And that may sound quite melancholic, but I found this quite a comforting and positive read.

Weldon will often admit that she is aware of her privilege, that despite hardships she has been able to create a comfortable life. But what struck me when I was reading, is how she does not see herself as the accomplished woman that she truly is. She has been more successful than many of us could ever dream of, and yet the goals and dreams that she did not achieve weigh heavy on her.  I think this is a lesson for us all, that none are immune to comparing ourselves to others and that the message of not being "enough" is felt so deeply even by someone who seems to have it all.  Something we all need to work on!

Being in my mid-thirties, I've found myself shifting in my reading choices.  I'm keen to incorporate the voices of experience and wisdom of the women who are paving the way before me.  I am not particularly scared of aging in and of itself, but I am keen to age the best way I can.  And I don't mean slathering myself in magic-pill face creams.  I mean by seeing the joy that is to come, and gathering advice on how to handle the not-so-joyous moments.  Voices like Weldon's are like beacons to me.  She has such a personable and honest way about her writing, but still retains that journalistic clarity.  The result is poignancy and a way with words that resonates, but with a wit and oversight that makes you feel as if you're in safe hands.
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The book reads easily and I so appreciated Michele's courage to address and deal with her fears and perceived inadequacies. I could relate to her childhood memories which triggered my own childhood thoughts. The book made me laugh and reflect on my own life and the roles our family has played in molding who we are.
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DNF @33%

This was boring and seemed pointless to me. The style and topics are very conservative and vanilla with nothing to say, that I could find.

For example, the first essay: I live in this house, raised my sons, had good times, bad times, I'm privileged but not super privileged, some day I'll have to throw out stuff and sell it.

I'm not really clear on what the point is and what there might be here for me to latch on to.

Maybe I'm too non-conventional and too young.
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It's refreshing to read something written by a woman of a certain age when you happen to be a woman of a certain age yourself. Michele Weldon's book of essays, 'Act Like You're Having a Good Time' are poignant and realistic as well as making you laugh out loud at times.

I enjoyed the author's honesty and her reflections on where she is in her life now and how she got there and there was much to empathise with. I particularly enjoyed her discussion around art classes, swimming and what she wore to a friend's wedding. 

This is not only an enjoyable read, but also a thought provoking one.
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4 stars

You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books.

This was an interesting collection of essays about things a "woman of a certain age" has to deal with every day. Often discarded by society and invisible to anyone over 25, women over 50 are often times lumped together as "old ladies" that are irrelevant and who can no longer contribute to society. Being one of these "old ladies", I found a lot of truths in several of the author's essays, whether I want to admit it or not.

The essays about reconciling lost dreams and forming new friendships particularly resonated with me. Like it or not, I have to admit to myself that I am no longer able to stand in Times Square for 10 hours on New Years Eve waiting to ring in the new year, kiss complete strangers, and watch the ball drop. That dream must die, along with bungee jumping off a bridge, skydiving out of a plane, and many others that past me by with the passing of my youth.

Having relationships with women of various ages is also a must. It helps you keep perspective and keeps you current. It's also important to have varying levels of friendships. Some friends you go to concerts with. Others are your work BFFs. Still others share in your triumphs and defeats. All are necessary.

I don't read many books like this, but I really enjoyed this one and recommend you read it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Northwester University Press for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I don't know what  I was expecting from this book. I think I was thought it would give hints and tips but even though it doesn't say that in the description I thought I might pick something up. But that's a reflection on my part..  It's a very good read and perhaps something to go back to later and just read it for fun.
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This was a fun and very honest look into the author's experiences with ageing.   I could relate to a few of them a little too well.  Her humor and insightful writing made this a great read.
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𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐨𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 “𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐭”- 𝐚 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐝𝐚𝐦𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐬. “𝐒𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝”, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐬𝐚𝐲 𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐢𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐭𝐫𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮.


“Act like you’re having a good time” is the sage advice Michele Weldon’s father gave and modeled to Michele and her siblings, advice that has carried Weldon through sixty plus years and counting. You have to show up in life so you may as well enjoy as much of it as you can, because who wants to be around miserable people? Happiness is always in our own hands- at least in the way we react to what fate serves us. Michele writes about her identity and appreciates the privilege she has had, despite any obstacles she has faced, including a difficult marriage, the trials of single motherhood while trying to have a career and the harsh realities of having breast cancer. Mother, wife, friend, daughter, mentor, journalist, author, and emerita faculty at at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Weldon has a lot to reflect on and does so in these tenderly honest essays.

Ambitions and dreams that change as she faces her more mature years, the amount of time left to achieve them is the reality we will all face, if we are lucky. There is a point when a person takes stock of where they have been as well as who; how they have affected people in their life, where they have failed, what has been learned and what there is left to do. It’s not always pretty looking back and it can be scary looking forward. Waiting outside the door of the self is the larger world and what it means to be a woman in it. How beauty is measured, ageism, antiquated ideas, gender, race, class, ethnicity, attempts at fitting into the ever changing landscape, navigating technology that seems to move at the speed of light… it can feel like an uphill battle. Yes, even women of a certain age can feel the pain of comparison to an ideal beauty that is always shining on youth. More so when actresses in their age bracket don’t seem age. It is here, in her third act of life, that she shares what she has learned and what is still missing. All of this in the midst of the disruption COVID-19 has forced on the world.

It is not easy to reshape oneself, but in order to survive, we must. More so as we shed decades of experience, have to alter our thinking and embrace new ways of being. The world right now can leave you disoriented, that is true for the majority of us and it requires clarity to plant yourself where you need to be. Easier said than done. Michele certainly shares her failings with painful honesty, where finding a sunny disposition seemed of her reach. We are human, after-all.

Weldon understands what parents go through and the necessity of constant motion, as she raised sons, how it doesn’t leave much time for ‘pausing’, reflection. It is hard to keep ‘having a good time’ when you are running on fumes, with three boys and a career she certainly faced exhausting days. In these essays, she talks about the many phases of her life, the vulnerability and how it feels now to be arriving in a place where she is often left feeling “unseen”, inconsequential. How aging has changed from her grandmothers day to present time and where she lands in that disparity. Do you attempt being fashionable or let yourself go? Is there anything in between?

The hunger for affirmation has been present throughout her life, and isn’t it what most people have for a career goal, to achieve recognition or at least feel they’ve left their mark, made an impact somewhere before they retire? How much must one accomplish to feel right with themselves?

Michele Weldon examines her past to understand her present and plan for the future, because despite their being more behind her than ahead of her there is still so much living to do. I don’t think you have to be sixty to understand what it means to measure your worth, reflect on your choices, and try to navigate this madly spinning world. None of us age backwards, we’re all moving forward in phases, and wisdom of experience is never a thing to scoff at. At some point we all face similar questions. Yes, read it and I have to give a nod to the adorable book cover!

Publication Date: September 15, 2020

Northwestern University Press
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An intimate collection of essays on womanhood, humanity and life. 
I don't think it came at the right time for me. I somehow expected something different. But it was a well written book which I will hold close for a later moment in my life when my experiences will allow me to enjoy it more. Which, in itself, is a good review, I don't tend to hold on to books I did not find able to come up with something good to say.
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Michele Weldon gives an honest and intimate look at aging, the complexities and simplicity of it as she reviews her life, her motherhood, her friendships.  A well-written series of short essays that are thoughtful and humorous and very personal.  Everything you want in a memoir, and more, in these times - short pieces you can read and ponder and follow in your mind as a distraction from the rest of the world.
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Reading Michele Weldon's collection of essays is like sitting down with an old friend over coffee or a glass of wine talking candidly about life since "there is more behind than ahead."  At 61, Weldon is just a few years younger than me, so  her essays on her growing-up years definitely resonated with me from having to dress up when traveling (we even had to when we went grocery shopping with our mom), owning a disco wardrobe, to knowing that acting accordingly was always the best way to approach life.

While her father's mantra was "act like you're having a good time," our mother's was "be graceful even if it kills you," so I can totally relate to so much of what is in this book.  The essays are short and insightful dealing not only with growing up, but aging and life in general -- the worries that never seem to leave us as well as the importance in knowing that what we do in this life (and have done) matters.  

Weldon indicates that she wrote this book to find clarity in her life hoping that her readership will find it, too. 
 I know that I found myself nodding quite a bit throughout the book.  And as a contemporary, I would imagine that I'm definitely in the sphere of her target audience.  

I like Michele Weldon's writing style and know that I will be reading more of her books.

Thank you to NetGalley and Northwestern University Press for this ARC (Advance Reader's Copy) in exchange for my honest review.  #ActLikeYoureHavingaGoodTime  #NetGalley
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Personal intimate group of essays.The author shares with us her life her views on aging als funny moments that made me laugh out loud.An excellent group of essays highly recommend,#netgalley#northwesternu
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Act Like You're Having a Good Time by Michele Weldon is a thoughtful collection of essays in which the author ponders the difficulty of finding one's purpose, particularly as we age.  The title is taken from the life advice that was doled out by her father to herself and her siblings as they were growing up, and Ms Weldon reflects on the wisdom of that advice as she faces ageism, career challenges, and her struggle to keep faith.  These essays come from a deeply personal place, and the musings within are the culmination of a lifetime of seeking the positive in facing life's many tests.  Readers will find these essays relatable, nostalgic, and wise.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Northwestern University Press for this ARC.
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Book Review    6/17/2020

Act Like You’re Having a Good Time, by Michele Weldon

This is a profound and often funny discussion about women growing older in America and the author’s personal insights into coming to grips with a lifetime of expectations, limitations, and the opinions of others.  The insights will certainly resonate with any woman over the age of 50, and Ms. Weldon gives honor to past generations for lessons of resiliency and acceptance.  These lessons are timely in the light of current worldwide challenges in both the political and public health arenas.  The book does take a turn midway into generational apologies, and it almost feels like a better topic for another book.  Yet, the overarching message of the book is a positive one.  As the author shares, “Fifty years before finding your bliss was a thing, my father reminded us bliss was a choice and within our reach.”  This is timely advice in an age of immediate gratification and a passion to right all wrongs.  Weldon’s insights focus on  slowing down, turning down the volume of life, and finding out what is important.  “Trying to live with purpose is not simple for me.”  She is so right about that..it’s not simple for any of us.
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Thank you to the author and netgalley for the advanced copy of Act Like You're Having a Good Time.  
The author Michele Weldon has put together a collection of her personal essays, the essays touch on a manor of subjects and are very personal. 

I really enjoyed it and certain aspects made me laugh.  I love the variety of the essays.
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Act Like You're Having a Good Time by Michele Weldon
Thank you to #NetGalley, the publisher and Michele Weldon for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my honest review.  Act Like You're Having a Good Time is a wonderful collection of essays about issues women deal with as they go through life.  The title is taken from advice she and her five siblings received from her father growing up.  If they complained or fought with each other or were miserable for whatever reason, his advice was always the same,  "act like you're having a good time".   Weldon interprets this to mean that you should live your life positively and be happy with yourself and your life.  I loved each essay in this book and her story of the cooler of food that her mother packed so she could fix meals in their hotel room during vacations took me right back to my childhood when my mother would do the same thing.   In Dress Code when she describes an encounter with a salesperson who told her not to buy a dress because of her age and then later deciding that she could wear what she wants to regardless of what other people think strikes home as well.  Her philosophy on life is summed up in a note inside a card she receives from a friend that says  "My barn's burnt down, now I can see the sky."   This book is one of my top ten for 2020.  Buy a copy for yourself and buy a copy for your best friend.
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Act Like You're Having a Good Time by Michele Weldon is a collection of personal essays about becoming older (the author talks about being in her early 60's), family, friendships, privilege, faith, and many other things.  While reading this book, I enjoyed the personal stories that the author shared about growing up, and her relationship with her parents.  Many of the stories had humor (the cottage cheese spill at the hotel had me laughing out loud!) and were lighthearted, however, I still wished that the book overall had a more positive feeling, or a feeling of hope.  There were also some good "lessons"  that the author learned that readers can benefit from, as well as advice for readers.
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Act Like You're Having A Good Time is the first book I've read from Michele Weldon, and I feel like I've found a wise, funny friend. In this highly personal collection of essays, Weldon shares her experience of reaching her early sixties and how she makes sense of the events of her life, as well as the things that may never happen. I appreciated that she did not try to globalize her experience - this is one woman's story, and that's where it's strength comes from. I wish she'd found a bit more hope for her future, and I would have liked to know more about her friends. But this was a wonderful read and I hope she has years of memoir left to share with us, as I'll be curious about her perspective.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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