The Sunday List of Dreams
There are far wilder women than Connie Nixon --- she's a regular gal on the verge of retirement, a change she expects will find her hibernating from the crazy world outside her midwestern window. Connie fine-tunes her 30-year project called "The Sunday List of Dreams," pages and pages of things she wants to do, hopes to do, or dreams about doing someday (but nothing that she thinks will ever be completely accomplished).
And yet, when cleaning out her garage, she finds a box of her estranged oldest daughter's plans for a dream job she never shared with the family --- a franchised sex toy company that will help women find the satisfaction that is missing from their dreary American lives --- and Connie jumps into action. Packing the store address, her notebook and a heightened maternal instinct that has been dormant for years, Connie sets off for New York City, where an education in love and living is in store for her in the most unexpected ways.
Connie meets a stylist on the plane who ends up unleashing Connie's inner sex goddess. Connie's daughter, Jessica, finds herself drawn to her mom at a time when her own life is shifting, as her store is about to go national. A fluke trip to New Orleans to meet with the political strife of local conservatives at a toy production facility wakes up the two women to the twin excitements of romance and commerce as well as long-submerged familial connections that express themselves in surprising ways.
Connie gets a bayou kiss that shakes her very foundation and runs down Bourbon Street with Jessica in tow, baring breasts and letting go of all logic and inhibitions in a race for the promise of the future. One women's music festival and a gala store opening later, Connie's life (and that of her daughter) is completely altered, and this 60-something retiree ticks off the things in her life with growing confidence and a combination of hard-earned wisdom and open-hearted wonderment.
Kris Radish gives Connie a voice that is strong and direct, filled with the contradictions of self-trust and self-deception that anyone will be able to relate to, regardless of age. The way she inspires Jessica, the brave entrepreneur of sexual satisfaction who hasn't had a date in years, is a real coup for moms everywhere who cherish the notion that their struggles can teach and inspire their offspring as well as themselves. The only problem I have with the characters is that, although love is paramount to their adventures, the men are barely more than stereotypes --- Connie even calls one of her suitors "Burt" (he looks like Burt Reynolds).
In the end, this is a story about women helping women and the ability of one brave individual to inspire all of them to live their most authentic lives. It's an extreme metamorphosis that Connie undergoes --- the idea that she ends up running a sex shop for her formerly estranged daughter is a bit of a jump --- and yet, somehow, her good heart and gentle concern for womankind's happiness comes across as a feminist coming-of-age that shows how "coming-of-age" can happen at any age.
Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 23, 2011
The Sunday List of Dreams
- Publication Date: January 23, 2007
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 378 pages
- Publisher: Bantam
- ISBN-10: 0553383981
- ISBN-13: 9780553383980