Rose Addams is hitting her sixties, but these days it feels like they're starting to hit back...
Her daughter, Morgan, has ditched her thesis program and moved back home to Vancouver, while her son Jason's partner has never seen eye to eye with his mother. Her husband Charles has decided to take early retirement from the university to work on his long-gestating book, and his rakish best friend Garnet has a new mistress who is way too young for their social circle. When Rose encounters a young man panhandling outside of her library office though, a chain of events is set in motion whereby Rose will have to confront all the facets of her rapidly-complicating life...
Recalling the work of Caroline Adderson, Krista Foss, and Marie-Renée Lavoie, Margie Taylor's Rose Addams is an insight into the life of a woman who is in the process of beginning her third act, an empathetic and incisive look at the problems of those just exiting middle age while attempting to keep up with a rapidly-changing world.
About the author
Margie Taylor was born and raised in Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ontario. Her mother passed away when she was young leaving her and her father to raise her two sisters. She learned to read at three and took up jogging at 27those remain her hobbies. Formerly the host of CBCsWild Rose Country, The Eyeopener and The Homestretch in Alberta, as well as the producer and host of numerous CBC radio shows in Vancouver, Taylor has been a freelancer and contributor to the Calgary Herald and The Globe and Mail and is the author of three books. Taylor now makes her home in Guelph, Ontario.
Excerpt: Rose Addams (by (author) Margie Taylor)
The guy is still there, hunched on the sidewalk a few feet from the entrance to the store. Dark hoodie, torn jeans. Cardboard sign with Homeless Please Give written in crayon. Rose does give, when she has spare change. Which isn't as often as it used to be because, really, who carries cash anymore? He never looks up, but he acknowledges contributions by nodding and pressing his hands together in thanks.
She likes that. It's what her yoga teacher always said at the end of a class; Rose assumed it meant "thanks" but it means more than that. According to Wikipedia, it means "I bow to the divine in you." Which is nice.
She puts the car into reverse gear and wonders if she should give Charles a call before setting off, let him know she's on her way. He likes to be kept in the loop. Charles is her husband of four decades--forty years exactly next May. He is her friend, her defender, and her support system, and, when she's not wanting to strangle him, she admires his spirited approach to life and his sense of humour. She might have done so much worse; she'd never tell him that, of course, but she often thinks it.
Backing out of her parking space, she makes sure to check behind her for stray shopping carts. He's still there, the homeless guy. The first time he said namaste she wanted to ask if he did yoga, but most likely he'd just picked it up somewhere and liked the sound of it. Homeless people don't do yoga, do they? Where would they do it? And yoga lessons cost the earth. Morgan takes them three times a week at some studio in Toronto--twenty dollars a pop, if you can believe it. Still, if it helps her focus on her studies, it's probably worth it. And Ian is paying for it, she says.
Ian. Now there'sa lovely man. And such a good family. Not rich or anything like that, just good, solid people who put their efforts into raising a good, solid son. It's sad when you think of it, the difference good parenting makes. There's Ian, Morgan's fiancé, graduating with distinction from Brown, practically running a film company. And there's that poor young man, standing outside a grocery store, relying on the kindness of strangers. A drug addict probably. A lifetime of poor choices learned from parents who made equally poor choices. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
He'd do better if he smiled, made eye contact. Even said good morning. It's hard to ignore someone when they smile at you and say hello. Which is all they can do these days. They aren't allowed to ask you directly for money. When did that change? Must have been a bylaw that came into effect when she wasn't paying attention. This guy, anyway, isn't the one who followed her home the other week. That one panhandles outside the liquor store in the village, a short walk from their house. He came right to her door and knocked and asked for a handout, if you can believe it. How did he even find her? She gave him ten dollars and a peanut-butter sandwich and he left. So far, he hasn't come back.
The blast of a car horn directly behind her prompts her to slam down on the brake pedal. She checks her rear-view mirror, makes the nod-and-hands-together prayer gesture to the driver of an SUV backing up behind her. Sorry. My bad. The driver, a young guy in sunglasses and a beanie, doesn't notice. He has his speakers on maximum volume; even with the window closed, the boom-boom-boom is deafening.
It's a miracle there aren't more accidents in these lots. People coming and going, no rules about whose turn it is. The polite ones wait till the coast is clear but nobody is polite any more. We've become a nation of pushy, entitled road hogs demanding the right-of-way.
And it's all the fault of the internet--
Another toot from yet another car, this one coming towards her and cutting into the space beside her. What the hell? When did the simple act of leaving a shopping mall turn into an exercise in military withdrawal? Half these drivers shouldn't be on the road, of course. Too old, too preoccupied.
This time it's the other driver, a woman, giving the apologetic smile. Okay, so it was her fault. And she's sorry. There, you see, Rose? Not everybody's an idiot.
"An intimate look at a woman entering her third act on life's stage. Rose reflects on her role as wife and mother and how she will improvise in a very complicated and unpredictable world."
--Senator Pamela Wallin
"Margie Taylor loves Rose Addams. Loves her despite Rose's blind spots and anxieties. Or because of them. In this compulsively readable novel, Taylor shines a witty and compassionate light on the world of a woman navigating her sixth decade--a daring project, given how little literature has bothered. As Taylor deftly nudges her heroine past personal crises that test her convictions about motherhood, marriage and propriety, she lets Rose (and us readers) glimpse a new, deeper kind of self-knowledge that only comes with age."
--Marguerite Pigeon, author of The Endless Garment and Some Extremely Boring Drives
"Readers will smile to recognize family members, friends, and themselves in this gentle skewering of a middle-class, middle-aged Vancouver woman and her circle. Hints of Jane Austen, Barbara Pym and Elizabeth Strout enliven a perspicacious account of friendships, generation gaps, unsuitable attachments, and the indignities of encroaching age. Margie Taylor has created, in Rose Addams, an avatar for women of a certain age who struggle to learn a new generation's perspectives and mores, but when crises arise, are heroically present with their experience and fierce commitment to the vulnerable of society."
--Karen Hofmann, award-winning author of A Brief View from the Coastal Suite and Echolocation
"Margie Taylor writes with great empathy and sharp insight. Readers will root for the characters in this compelling story."
--Lisa Guenther, author of Friendly Fire
"A beautifully crafted work, Rose Addams features vivid characters facing real-world problems in a narrative that reads like a thriller. I had a hard time putting this one down."
--Ken McGoogan, author of Fatal Passage and Lady Franklin's Revenge
"In a style reminiscent of Carol Shields and Bonnie Burnard, Margie Taylor has crafted a warm-hearted tale from the life of Rose Addams. Rose, as her husband Charles points out, is a woman 'compelled to insert herself into every situation.' Not quite a busybody, not quite a fixer (sometimes the opposite), Rose tries her best to be useful and kind and keep up with the times. No easy task when presented with the abrupt appearance of a young man who stayed at their home briefly when he was a child, a daughter in a personal crisis, new and peculiar behaviour from Rose's husband, and various surprise announcements from her long-term friends and their mismatched (according to Rose) romantic partners. Rose's strong character and her knack for jumping to (incorrect) assumptions make for a highly engaging, frequently funny, story that is, ultimately, about the changing nature of all of our relationships as we age."
--Barb Howard, author of Happy Sands and Western Taxidermy