What I’m Reading: Never Too Late

I just finished reading “Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (Without Getting Lost Along the Way),” which I bought after hearing the author speak at an Atlanta Writers Club meeting last month. As I’m approaching my 40th birthday and starting to come to terms with the idea of being in “midlife,” I was inspired by her bio, especially the fact that she published her first novel at age 45. What a relief to hear the phrase “never too late” as it applies to realizing your dreams!

Before hearing her speak to the AWC, I only knew Claire Cook from “Must Love Dogs,” her best-known book, which was made into a movie starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. I frankly had no idea that she had this reinvention platform, or even that she had published a dozen novels before branching out into non-fiction with “Never Too Late.” But, as it turned out, going to the meeting paid off in an unexpected way, allowing me to discover this amazing book that I’ve now recommended to several friends.

Cook is a terrific and inspiring speaker, and her voice comes through on the page just as authentically as if she’s in the room with you. She’s wonderfully humble and down-to-earth. Like me, she lost her mom at a young age and she describes it as the “defining sadness” of her life, but also says that dealing with the loss helped her produce some of her best work. I love her take on success – that there’s plenty to go around, and her achievement as a writer doesn’t mean that others can’t be successful and vice versa. As she says, “It’s all about how we help each other.” And while I think her specific experience is probably going to be most relevant to those who have identified “author” as their life goal, she takes care to keep from slipping into a narrow niche, referencing women who have reinvented themselves in all kinds of ways. The book is full of uplifting anecdotes balanced with practical advice for staying focused on your dreams and making steady progress toward the life you want to live. Now that I’ve finished the book, I plan to read it again and put some of that advice into practice. Here’s to the next joyful chapter!