Ah, fifty-five. Gateway to the golden years! Professional summiting. Emotional maturity. Easy surfing toward the glassy blue waters of retirement . . . Or maybe not? Middle age, for Sandra Tsing Loh, feels more like living a disorganized twenty-five-year-old's life in an eight-five-year-old's malfunctioning body. With raucous wit and carefree candor, Loh recounts the struggles of leaning in, staying lean, and keeping her family well-fed and financially afloat—all those burdens of running a household that still, all-too-often, fall to women.
The Madwoman and the Roomba chronicles a roller coaster year for Loh, her partner, and her two teenage daughters in their ramshackle quasi-Craftsman. Her daughters are spending more time online than off; her partner has become a Hindu, bringing in a household of monks; and she and her girlfriends are wondering over Groupon "well" drinks how they got here.
Whether prematurely freaking out about her daughters' college applications, worrying over her eccentric aging father, or overcoming the pitfalls of long-term partnership and the temptations of paired-with-cheese online goddess webinars, Loh somehow navigates the realities of what it means to be a middle-aged woman in the twenty-first century. By day's end, we just might need a box of chardonnay and a Roomba to clean up the mess.
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About Sandra Tsing Loh
Sandra Tsing Loh is a writer and performer. Her work has been heard on NPR’s Morning Edition and This American Life. She is a contributing editor to the Atlantic and hosts the daily podcast The Loh Down on Science. Her book The Madwoman and the Volvo was a New York Times Notable Book of 2014. Loh lives in Pasadena, California.