As other reviewers note, author Cindy Eastman grows on you in Flips-Flops After 50: And Other Thoughts on Aging I Remembered to Write Down.
This memoiresque book of essays is an easy read that begins lightheartedly and gets more interesting as Eastman reveals details of her life. But she never quite gets below the surface. Too many chapters end with a zinger that’s a little too predictable.
Flip-Flops After 50 is well-organized, competently edited, occasionally witty and definitely thought-provoking when the author takes on subjects like aging parents, cutting one’s hair when one reaches a certain age and friends who die (in fact, these essays were among my favorites), but the book is not entirely about “thoughts on aging” as the subtitle suggests (I wasn’t a fan of the political pieces or the ones about underemployment). Some essays are not only clever, they are only clever, as light and insubstantial as the flips-flops pictured on the cover.
I picked up Flip-Flops After 50 (if one can pick up an e-book) because it was published by She Writes Press. It’s a memoir (I love good memoirs), it’s based on Eastman’s blog (I appreciate blog-to-books), and I want to support female authors.
I feel a little bit bad that I didn’t “love” Eastman’s book, but let’s be clear here: The whole star system in the books world is off kilter. Three stars on Goodreads is “I liked it” while three stars on Amazon is only “it’s okay” (gee, didn’t Goodreads get into bed with Amazon not long ago? Would it be too much to ask them to get on the same page?). To further complicate matter, three stars on Barnes & Noble is “good” (does that mean “I liked it” or does that mean “it’s okay”?).
Flip-Flops is better than okay, and I definitely liked it. I just didn’t like it a lot. Eastman has potential, but I would have given her a higher rating if she dug in her emotional well a little deeper, described a little more and created more characters like her coworker Andie and her friend Elizabeth. Maybe there’s a sequel somewhere here that gets better with age.