‘About Face’ by Carole Howard

Here, finally, I present you my review of Carole Howard’s ‘About Face’. I say finally because I have finished the book a while ago but life was busy and I didn’t get around to actually writing a review until now. Of course you haven’t noticed any of this finally business as it was all happening outside of this blog. Anyway.

Image taken from Goodreads.

About Face is about a 50-something business executive who struggles with hot-flashes, her husbands early retirement and connecting her Peace Corps roots with working for a make up company. Adding to this is her reconnection with her Peace Corps buddy which brings her struggles up even more.

I get that you have to be pretty passionate, and maybe even a little bit naive to go off with the Peace Corps and you hope to change something in the world; maybe you can even change EVERYTHING! I honestly get that because I am still waiting for my groundbreaking idea that will revolutionise something, anything! Alas, I will not find that thing while blogging my way through all Disney movies but that’s a story for another day.

Ruth, that’s our executive, isn’t a happy camper since she got a new boss and he doesn’t like her. She wants to prove herself and the feminist in me cheers her on even more so for it. I mean, I stand up straighter on purpose when I’m around a certain male colleague of mine because it makes me tower over him and gets me all irrationally excited. Aaargh, sorry, I am in a rambly mood today.

The novel was a welcome change from the lot of YA novels I have read recently and it is interesting to read about the other end of the age spectrum, so to speak. I wouldn’t call Ruth old but she has to figure out how she fits into this world with her changing body and maybe not having all too many years left in the workforce.

My favourites were the parts when she talks about her time in Africa, what living there was like. Meanwhile I wasn’t too interested in all the executive business stuff, considering the business classes of my degree were those I could have lived without. I don’t give a crap about marketing because it always bored me to no end so I had to struggle a bit through some of the novel’s parts. Mildly struggle though, it really wasn’t too bad.

I would have liked to see more of The Brain Trust, her group of other 50-something women all going through the same changes. They were in the story a fair bit but their sole purpose was so that Ruth could bounce off ideas off of them and that was a bit sad. I would have also liked to see more interaction between her and her husband.

The ending was pretty obvious from the moment Ruth met her Peace Corps buddy again and maybe that’s why I couldn’t bring myself to care much about her new product line at her current job. It’s great she got one last success under her belt but, ehhhh, I thought that should have been just a vehicle for something we were supposed to learn through this book and not the main focus.

All in all I enjoyed About Face and I think this has been about one of the oldest protagonists I have read in a while. Which of course is a good thing because most standard novels land in the middle age group of late 20s to early 40s maybe and there is a lot of ground that isn’t covered. So yes, non-standard female protagonist books are always welcome here.

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