Navigating the Messy Middle: A Fiercely Honest and Wildly Encouraging Guide for Midlife Women


Product Details

$24.95  $23.20
Douglas & McIntyre
Publish Date
5.9 X 8.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Ann Douglas is a bestselling parenting author and a frequent contributor to CBC Radio. She is the creator of the Mother of All Books series, which have sold over half a million copies in North America to date. She lives in Highland Grove, ON.


"A woman's midlife is long, rollercoastery, and almost always transformative--yet there's little in the popular canon like Ann Douglas's deep dive into the voices of this unsung (and arguably best!) phase." --Paula Spencer Scott, author of Surviving Alzheimer's and Lucky Us, and co-author of When Your Aging Parent Needs Help

"The book deserves to be a classic...There is no ignoring Ann Douglas--bestselling parenting author turned champion for a new vision of midlife. In her brave, candid and radical new book, Navigating the Messy Middle, she topples the myths that cast the 40s and 50s as either the sad, sour fizzling of beauty and sexual possibility or the triumphant rebirth of a whole new birth...If you feel like the only reasonably smart, constantly stretched midlife woman who hasn't nailed "self care" and is not on track for a well-earned retirement, this could be your most bracing book of the year." --Rona Maynard, former Editor of Chatelaine magazine and author of Starter Dog

"As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is inspired and inspiring, Navigating the Messy Middle: A Fiercely Honest and Wildly Encouraging Guide for Midlife Women must be considered essential reading for all women of any age--but most especially those who feel estranged from the youth culture dominance in our contemporary society." --Midwest Book Review

"This book tackles the complex and often misunderstood topic of women's lived experience of mid-life, with insights from interviews with more than one hundred women. In these pages, the reader is invited into a cornucopia of women's stories, challenging the invisibility often associated with this stage of life, and ultimately drawing us towards a collective reimagining of the female life cycle."--Molly Andrews, co-director, Association for Narrative Research and Practice

"If you're a woman facing the beautiful, messy, occasionally harsh realities of mid-life, this book is for you. It offers a candid exploration of what it means to be a middle-aged woman in modern western society, a role which sees us at once indispensable and ignored. It's an eye-opening read."--Catherine Clark, co-founder, The Honest Talk

"This is the midlife book we've been missing! Ann Douglas demystifies midlife and launches a conversation with inclusion, justice, compassion and honesty at its core. Navigating the Messy Middle will be well-loved, dogeared, underlined, and passed from friend to friend. It will encourage continued conversations between women who, after reading this book, will know for sure that they aren't alone."--Sara Smeaton, midlife coach

"In this comprehensive overview of mid-life, Ann Douglas weaves a powerful tapestry of narratives, rich with the colours of many voices. The result is a precious gift for women feeling lost, desperate, or alone in midlife, since Douglas reveals, vibrantly, how peril is outweighed by potential and that midlife can be a "journey of becoming." This is an important and much-needed book."--Beth Powning, author of Edge Seasons: A Midlife Year

"The best thing about Ann Douglas's perspective, as always, is her understanding that one-size-fits-all advice fits no one. Instead, in Navigating the Messy Middle, readers will discover an empowering guide to finding one's own way through the ups and downs of midlife, a time when seeking strength in connection, embracing the changeability of the physical self, and focusing on one's real values and priorities can create a powerful moment of (finally!) becoming."--Kerry Clare, author of Waiting for a Star to Fall

"If we're lucky, we all occasionally have one of those evenings with friends where we vent about everything rattling around in our brains and lives, and realize that the answer to the question "Is it just me?" is a resounding no. This book is one of those evenings between two covers, delivered with Douglas's signature wisdom, perspective, warmth and wit."--Shannon Proudfoot, former Ottawa bureau chief, Maclean's

"In Navigating the Messy Middle, Ann Douglas gives us the context, the compassion and the courage needed to understand the challenges, gifts and opportunities that midlife presents. It reads like both a manifesto and a heart-to-heart with your closest friends."--Brandie Weikle, editor and publisher,

"Our culture paints a vague yet bleak picture of menopause, and the result is a population of women who see their first hot flash as the beginning of the end. But midlife is about more than menopause. It's nuanced and multifaceted, and where there can sometimes be misery, there can also be magic, as Ann Douglas illustrates persuasively in her new book, Navigating the Messy Middle. Written clearly and compellingly with a mix of science-backed information and real-life stories, Navigating the Messy Middle will inevitably find a wide, appreciative audience. Reading it made me feel seen, understood and empowered, and my anxiety about this period in my life has been replaced by curiosity and optimism. If you buy one book about midlife, make it this one."--Kim Shiffman, editor-in-chief, Today's Parent

"Applying surgical myth-busting to harmful narratives that disappear middle aged women, Ann Douglas takes us on a life-affirming journey. Reading it has been a bit of an emotional journey. I think most women will have the same reaction - feeling seen, validated and celebrated!"--Kelly Carmichael, former executive director, Fair Vote Canada

"I have appreciated Ann Douglas' insights on parenting for many years. She is kind, honest and clear-eyed, and much less patronizing than other relationships writers. She puts these skills to great use in Navigating the Messy Middle, which comes at a perfect time for me, as I try to evolve into the next stage of my life. The book shows middle-aged women that we're not alone, while encouraging us to prioritize what makes our unique selves satisfied and happy."--Denise Balkissoon, Ontario bureau chief, The Narwhal and former executive editor, Chatelaine

"In Navigating the Messy Middle, Ann Douglas challenges the prevailing narrative that women in midlife are a product past their prime. Combatting this culturally prescribed march toward invisibility, Douglas centres a diversity of women who, through sharing their stories, weave a broader, kinder, more accurate, and more inclusive narrative that is ripe with the realities, possibilities, complexities and contradictions experienced by women in midlife."--Kathryn Adams-Sloan, chair of the Women's Caucus to the Canadian Association for Social Work Education