Last week I was looking up authors that I used to really enjoy reading and wondering whatever happened to them (Billie Letts, where are you??). I saw that Jeanne Ray had a newer book I hadn’t read and promptly checked it out. She hit it big with her book Julie and Romeo not only because it was good and popular, but also because she was a first time author at age 60!
This was a delight with a great premise. A woman, the wonderfully named Clover Hobart, wakes up one day to discover she is invisible. How did this happen? And even worse, why doesn’t her husband or son notice??! When she runs over to her best friend’s houses the friend immediately can see that it’s just clothing floating in the air. This is such a depressing and horrid turn of events that Clover doesn’t know what to do. When she sees a notice in the paper advertising “Calling Invisible Women” with a meeting scheduled at a local hotel, she goes. And finds out that there are lots of other invisible women! They discover that they had all taken a combination of prescription medication and that is what has caused them to disappear. Most of them feel pretty dejected, especially when people don’t even notice their invisibility. I liked it that their invisibility wasn’t just a metaphor for women of a certain age, taken for granted by their families and workplaces. Yes, that was certainly part of it, but they were actually truly invisible. Clover and the other women bond and get fired up to use their invisibility to their advantage (I loved the chapter where Clover and her friend ride the school bus and spend the day at the high school making people behave), and to also confront the pharmaceutical company that has caused this.
I really liked this. I liked how, although Clover’s husband and son take her for granted, they are shown to be not terrible oafs, but people caught up in their own problems, too. This is funny and clever and thoughtful.