Skip to main content

The Late Bloomer’s Revolution: A Memoir

Review

The Late Bloomer’s Revolution: A Memoir

Amy
Cohen felt at the top of her game when she wrote for television
shows like “Caroline in the City” and “Spin
City.” All she needed was the perfect man to make the perfect
marriage, and she could start looking at country houses. But when
those jobs dried up, and she watched her beloved mother succumb to
cancer, and as she suffered through yet another breakup, she felt
as if her life had gotten horribly off-track somehow. Perhaps her
priorities needed some straightening out. But rather than take a
cold, hard (and probably predictable) look at herself, Cohen
thankfully explores her world in a wistful, comical way. The result
is THE LATE BLOOMER’S REVOLUTION, a memoir in essays.


Through her concise comic style, we get a bird’s-eye view
into her world. Cohen lovingly describes her madcap mother as the
kind who would help her get over a breakup by planning a trip to
Prague for both of them, where they spend the days looking at the
ancient architecture and the nights chatting away in outdoor cafes.
When a handsome Argentinean asks to join them, Cohen’s
romantic illusions are soon scuttled as she realizes that her
dynamic mother is the object of this foreigner’s affection,
not her. All the while, her mother is trying to divert attention to
her single daughter.


In the title essay, Cohen recounts a harrowing debacle on a bicycle
that scarred her for life, figuratively, while attending a birthday
party in the 1970s. This wasn’t just anyone’s birthday
party. This was Mindy Weinstein’s party. Mindy Weinstein was
the most popular girl in the third grade: “She was lithe and
blonde, blessed with a rare button nose that was adorable but also
possessed character. Legend had it that sleeping at The Weinstein
house was nothing short of paradise.” And Cohen wants to
impress her way into that paradise. Only one thing is wrong with
that plan: she can’t ride a bike. After a horrible fall,
Cohen is done trying to impress Mindy Weinstein and her ilk and
never mounts a bike again.


Following a particularly sticky breakup, she decides to finally
conquer her fear once and for all, investing in a pricy Italian
mountain bike and learning to ride, shakily at first, on the side
of a busy Long Island highway. Before long, she is going on biking
trips in Canada by herself and basks in the pride of an
accomplishment that was hard-won. Life is too short to be paralyzed
by the Mindy Weinsteins of this world.


The most touching essay, “Heartbreaker,” concerns the
close and bittersweet relationship she shares with her father in
the wake of her mother’s death. After a soul-crushing
breakup, Cohen re-enters the dating scene, coincidentally at the
same time as her widowed father, and both are surprised when he
proves to be the more successful of the two. Older widowed women
anxiously drop off bundt cakes as soon as they hear about the new
eligible bachelor on the scene. After each date, her father sadly
comments, “She’s no Mom,” but he understands
it’s a necessary evil: “Hey, I didn’t choose
this. I’d rather have Mom. You don’t want me to be
alone for the rest of my life. Do you?” His sweet
supportiveness is abundantly clear as he desperately wishes that
Cohen succeed in this endeavor and confides in his other daughter,
saying, almost as a mantra. “I hope Amy meets someone first.
I hope Amy meets someone first.”


Many books out there expound on the quest to find the perfect man,
but Cohen is a wry and unmuddied observer of the world around her.
Her accounts of dates gone wrong and her greatest fears (of dying
an old, infirmed woman, wearing a muumuu stained with cheap wine
and tears) enable her to connect with the reader in a completely
genuine and heartfelt way. As she watches various relationships
fizzle or fade, she tries to glean some knowledge from them and
move on as she remains steadfastly hopeful about the future. The
book’s epitaph, a piercingly perfect quote from George Eliot,
says it all: “It is never too late to be what you might have
been.” We, the readers, want her to succeed. As a matter of
fact, I think I might know the perfect guy for her…


   











Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on December 30, 2010

The Late Bloomer’s Revolution: A Memoir
by Amy Cohen

  • Publication Date: July 3, 2007
  • Genres: Essays, Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • ISBN-10: 1401300022
  • ISBN-13: 9781401300029