Happy Any Day Now

“Never has a mid-life crisis — or actually a perfect storm of them — been treated with such charm, insight, and smart, sardonic humor. Judith Soo Jin Raphael, the heroine of Toby Devens’ engaging new novel, is half-Korean, half-Jewish and who, facing her fiftith birthday, is carrying enough emotional baggage and family history to last several additional lifetimes.  With a deft touch, Devens spins a tale of lost opportunities and rediscovered romance, second chances and second thoughts, family secrets and lasting friendships.  Set in the fascinating world of classical music — with all its pressures, rivalries, passions, and loyalties — Devens’ Happy Any Day Now is a virtuoso performance which is bound to win Devens a host of new fans.” --Liza Gyllenhaal, author of A Place for Us

Happy Any Day Now is a charming read for women of any age, especially those who have mothers, fathers, boyfriends, former lovers, or careers.  Judith Soo Jin Raphael is unique and also completely like your best friend, facing decisions and doubts with courage and lots of LOL humor.  I learned so much from reading this book, and had such fun!”  --Nancy Thayer, author of Summer Breeze and The Hot Flash Club

"Judith Raphael is half-Korean and half-Jewish, and full on fabulous!  Toby Deven's novel is warm, witty, and wonderful." --Wendy Wax, Author of While We Were Watching Downton Abbey

“A smart, funny novel that explores the mid-life angst of Judith Soo Jin Raphael, a half-Korean, half-Jewish classical cellist.  Caught between two cultures, two lovers, and an errant father who reenters her life just as her professional and personal lives collide, Judith struggles to accept that what she wants, might not truly be what she needs.  Fast-paced and witty, with great dialogue and three-dimensional characters, Happy Any Day Now will ring true for many women.”  --Cathy Holton, author of Beach Trip

“If you’re looking for smart, upbeat fiction with snappy dialogue and a fun peek into ethnic traditions,Happy Any Day Now is perfect.  A lively read that offers an interesting behind-the-scenes look at a symphony orchestra and a mid-life heroine who is all grown up but still capable of being comically and poignantly bewildered by life.”  --Nancy Martin, author of Little Black Book of Murder

My Favorite Midlife Crisis (Yet)

"If there's anyone who understands the absurdity and demands of a woman's reality at midlife, it's first-time novelist Toby Devens. When Baltimore gyneco- logic oncologist Gwyneth Berke's hus- band leaves her for an interior decora- tor, she teams up with best friends Fleur and Kat one another dumpee, the other a shell-shocked widow. Their goal is just to get through each day, drink  champagne, and—God willing—find a little love from family and friends. Their adventures will leave you howling, while the gentle but realistic portrait Devens paints of a father with Alzheimer's will leave you in tears." --Diane Magazine

From Boomer Women's World Newsletter:   "What happens when a beautiful, 50-something OB/Gyn specialist discovers her husband of 26 years is leaving her for another man? Her world crumbles before her very eyes.

Now what? This wasn't supposed to happen. She's finally reached "midlife" where the years are supposed to give back, to be the best ones of her life, however, she has to divide her emotions and time between a father who's in the throws of Alzheimer's, and an ex-husband who is constantly in need of her forgiveness. To top it off, she's single after 26 years of marriage. 

After two years of hiding out from life, and of deep reflection, Gywneth realizes she is an empty nester, has money, a thriving OB/Gyn practice, good friends, and a beautiful apartment. The only thing missing is Mr. Right. It's time to move on.

And move she does! With the help of her two zany, yet lovable friends, Fleur and Kat, she takes us through each adventure and each misadventure struggling to reinvent her life, learning to trust again, and also learning how to let go, and ultimately, to forgive. While coming to terms with different kinds of loss is a part of the theme within the pages of this wonderful book, it's certainly not the dominant one. I found much love, laughter, and hope in every chapter. In my opinion, these three mismatched friends, each with a secret side, bring this midlife story to life from the get-go.

My advice is to pick up this book, read a chapter, cry, laugh hysterically, moan, whatever . . . then call you best friend and read it to her. Repeat daily. It wasn't hard at all to love each character. What was hard . . . was leaving them. 

You owe it to your Boomer self to read, My Favorite Midlife Crisis - Yet. You'll be so glad you did!"

Reviewed by Georgia Richardson

Publishers Weekly, 2006-05-15

"Still recovering from the discovery two years before that her husband of 26 years is gay (a revelation referred to as "The Treachery"), 54-year-old gynecologic oncologist Dr. Gwyneth Berke is resigned to a life of scientific pursuits, sulking in her luxury downtown Baltimore apartment and helping to care for her ailing father. Enter her best friends, widowed artist Kat and voluptuous entrepreneur Fleur, who coax Gwyn into dating again, a venture made easy by her looks, money and accomplishments. Though the men she meets at first are flakes, sexy lightning strikes at a medical conference when Gwyn meets Simon York, a renowned British gynecologist and researcher who doggedly woos a receptive Gwyn into the kind of torrid relationship that only two gynecologists can have. But Gwyn can't help wondering if Simon really is who he seems. He's too good-and too busy-to be true. More than light fare for the menopausal set, Devens's wise and witty debut is a distinguished addition to a crowded field." (Sept.)

Booklist  June 1 & 15 2006

Devens, Toby. My Favorite Midlife Crisis (Yet). Sept. 2006. 352p. Sourcebooks/Landmark, paper, $14 (1-4022-0747-6).

"Gwyneth Berke is about as fulfilled as a woman can get. She’s a prominent doctor with a Baltimore OB/Gyn practice, specializing in gynecologic oncology. She has a beautiful apartment, money, and two wonderful grown sons. Like most of us, she also has a few crosses to bear. Her ex-husband left her for another man, her father has Alzheimer’s, and now in her mid-fifties, finding a good man is like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s not as though Gwyneth is actively looking, but her two best friends, also single, are anxious for her to join them in the dating pool. We get to go along for the ride as Gwyneth and her friends make their way through the slim pickings of available men. While this seems to be the main theme of the book, Deven’s novel is really about women successful in life, in friends, and in their chosen profession, realizing what’s really important as they reach middle age. Wonderful characters make this humorous and heartwarming tale a pleasure to read." --Maria Hatton