By Katherine Lanpher.
Katherine Lanpher was a Midwest girl, born and bred. She started out in newspapers, eventually moved to radio, and eventually met Al Franken. In 2004, he asked her to be his cohost on his new Air America show in New York City. Katherine had planned on staying in the Midwest for her entire life--hadn't even considered moving-- but this was a huge opportunity. And since her life at home hadn't gone the way she expected it to--she got divorced from her husband because he was obsessed with his theater job and she turned out to be infertile--well, why not take a leap? On Leap Day, no less?
And that kicks off "Leap Days," a series of essays, around half of which deal with Katherine's move to New York and how strange it was for her to move there. It's a different culture. No cars, everyone wears black, you're supposed to tip everyone--but not EVERYONE, that's crazy!--and here, she's considered "too fat" to be able to buy clothes in stores. Plus there's the adjustments to being broker than usual so you can live in a tiny apartment. I quite enjoyed the musings on the weird world she'd moved to. I can't say I ever plan on living in New York myself and what with the lack of colors and the "fat" thing and the weather I don't think I'd like it so much, but it seems to grow on Katherine. And I liked reading about the experience of doing something drastically different in middle age, even when it throws you off.
The latter half of the book is less focused on her move. She talks about her upbringing with her parents and her brother's death, feminism, how she got into newspaper work and radio, infertility, and marriage, before coming back to the theme of moving in NYC. While she eventually left Air America, saying she wasn't quite as diehardly liberal as everyone else there and she seems to have felt weird about it--she elected to stay in this strange city rather than move back home.
It's a thoughtful book. Even if you weren't into listening to Air America as much as I was in the 2000's--coincidentally, I quit around the time Katherine Lanpher left the show-- you'll enjoy spending time with her and seeing how her new world runs. Four stars.