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Leap Days: Chronicles of a Midlife Move    by Katherine Lanpher order for
Leap Days
by Katherine Lanpher
Order:  USA  Can
Springboard Press, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

Katherine Lanpher leaps metaphorically and physically into a new existence in New York City, a place vastly removed from her prior Midwest life. This collection of essays chronicles her move, her first months, and evolving into a New Yorker.

Lanpher moved to New York a few years ago to begin working at Air America, the talk radio show hosted by Al Franken. A former host of Minnesota's public radio Midmorning, she pulled up roots in midlife and transferred to New York. No longer with Air America, she currently writes for various publications. Her essays are much more a personal memoir, rather than any political writings.

These essays take candid looks back at her life before divorce, her previous life in the Midwest, her encounters with the culture of New York, and how she made many new friends. Change is never easy for anyone, but changing one's location so drastically in your forties is especially difficult. Manhattan folk are slimmer and much more appearance conscious than in many other big cities, and Lanpher recounts many moments that were epiphanies of how people perceive middle-aged women. There are also looks at her family and friends, both back home, and from her new residence.

The essays are very entertaining, and combine a sense of humor with the sometimes sad events and moments of her life. She recounts happenings in her marriage that show the true affection she still has for her husband, while also relaying the anger she often felt. Her New York episodes are funny, and the pointed remarks about the types of people there are illuminating. At the same time, there is a lot of self-directed sarcasm, which can be a bit much when all the essays are read as a whole. However, most of them are truly funny and warming.

New York welcomes Katherine, and her enjoyment of the people and her encounters comes across well. She makes many new friends and truly makes New York her new home. Leap Days is a good read!

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