Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier” as Want to Read:
The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  454 ratings  ·  82 reviews
More than a decade after the New York Times bestselling anthology The Bitch in the House spoke up loud and clear for a generation of young women, nine of the original contributors are back—along with sixteen captivating new voices—sharing their ruminations from an older, stronger, and wiser perspective about love, sex, work, family, independence, body-image, health, and ag ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by William Morrow
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bitch Is Back, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Bitch Is Back

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  454 ratings  ·  82 reviews

Sort order
Elyse Walters
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I really like *Cathi Hanauer*, editor of “The Bitch in the House” - and “The Bitch is Back”.
Having read both these books now (plus “The Bastard on the Couch”),
I’d say the ‘strength’ behind these authors short story contributions is definitely *Cathi Hanauer*.

In “The Bitch In The House”...
Professional authors offered up their truth about sex, marriage, motherhood, work, and frustrations.

In “The Bitch is Back” ... nine of the same professional authors have returned, plus new authors- - older -
Rachel León
Sep 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
The collection is a follow-up to a book published over ten years ago called The Bitch In the House (which I haven't read yet). I was excited to see some familiar names on the list of contributors, including two writers I love--Jennifer Finney Boylan and Kate Christensen. The book tackles issues like the decisions to have children--or not--and to marry--or not, sex, motherhood, and coming to peace with one's life. Some of the essays are much stronger than others, but together they offer a glimpse ...more
Review forthcoming in Library Journal. I struggled with this book and I think in large part this is because it is not a book written for me. What brings these essays together is a question about women in "middle age" (late thirties to early sixties) making major life changes toward what they hope will be greater happiness -- changes in their inner perspective, in their personal actions, in their relationships, and so forth. While there is a scattering of difference -- a lesbian couple here, a bl ...more
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Annk by:
Great book; bad title. Essays from women about finding happiness post-50. It's a sequel to a book about younger women (The Bitch in the House), which I didn't read. But this books stands well on its own. Stories abound of women who decide never to marry, others who decide they will after all, women who have or decide not to have children, women in abusive relationships, women in healthy relationships, women in healthy relationships with men and women in healthy relationships with women. All the ...more
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting essays from a wide range of perspectives, including that of a Muslim woman in an arranged marriage with eight kids and a Ph.D. This is a sequel of sorts to “The Bitch is in the House,” which was published 15 years earlier (Some of the same women are featured in both books. ) Common themes include the pros and cons of going it alone, finding love the second (or third) time around, figuring out what’s really important to you, and letting go of societal expectations.
Amy Morfas
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommend it! Strongly encourage checking out this book, a series of essays by women "of a certain age" navigating the waters of life. Stories of love, work, children, infidelity, illness, having "work" done, aging alone, aging bodies and sexuality, second (and third and fourth) chances, etc. Definitely shows that there's no roadmap for life!
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The value of this book comes from the first person perspectives: they've been there, they've done that. I loved so many of the articles, though I might be a bit too young to appreciate the fullness of what was written.

The first section was about midlife.

Five Crucial Things the Fifty-Three-Year-Old Bitch Knows That the Thirty-Nine-Year-Old Bitch Didn't (Yet) by Pam Houston was about someone learning to be by herself. Her comments that being smart was not the only thing resonated with me - I like
Esther Bradley-detally
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Grabbed this one without too much thought. I hadn't read the author's previous The Bitch in the House, but this was clear, honest, and insightful; appreciated reading these pieces; have read several of their books. Good to know!
“In short, they, we, ‘difficult’ women, we thinking women, we women who finally have the opportunities and chutzpah to carve and design our own lives, had looked inward to see what was there and what was not, what we could live with or without , and what we still needed. And then we’d adjusted our lives and expectations accordingly.”

I can’t quite believe it has been almost fifteen years since Hanauer put together the essay collection, The Bitch in the House. I found those essays maddening, funny
Nov 07, 2016 rated it liked it
A birthday gift from my daughter en route to meeting my squad of amazing women friends. These essays varied from the "couldn't relate to this woman's experience at all" to "universal truths." Found some old literary friends (Ann Hood) and new (Jenny Findley Boylan) among the essays which was a nice surprise as well. I have little patience with drug and or alcohol applied to the problems of life which prevailed with some of the parents and grandparents stories included. What the women have in com ...more
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book had a much different tone then the first. I read it in a day. I couldn't get enough of their personal stories! My husband would frown at the cover and just kind of shake his head, sure it was a bunch of man bashing. I kept telling him it wasn't. It was just about women and how they have dealt with their decisions. I was happy to see the few authors who contributed to the first and interested in the new ones. I was so intrigued by all the pseudonyms--who could it be?

Kudos to Hanauer for
I liked that this book has so many different perspectives and voices. And although the writers are older, I found their experiences moving and at times humbling. However, there were a several instances where a lack of connectability on social-economic statuses, racial/ethnic background/up bringing and professional experience levels that hindered any real ability to be 100% moved by this book as a whole. Full Review to come soon.
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book is a set of essays from women giving their, "perspective about love, sex, work, family, independence, body-image, health, and aging: the critical flash points of women’s lives today." Whether any of them have gotten either wiser or happier is still an open question, I'd say.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Although this is exactly where I am in life, the stories in this update didn't resonate with me nearly as much as the original (The Bitch in the House). Perhaps that's a comment on how so much more of life's experiences seem universal the younger you are.
Nov 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
The original was profound and necessary to my formation as a wife and mother and person. The sequel was kind of depressing. Aging blows and people are terrible. That said, it was interesting to read the updates on some of the authors.
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
A bit of overkill here. Many essays about white, upper class women and the problems they face relating to marriage, career, sex, aging, etc., a few of which were interesting. Mostly I forgot about each woman's story as soon as it was over.
Anna Graham Hunter
Dec 20, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book just as much as I did its predecessor, The Bitch in the House. Zipped through it in two days.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved the bitch - or the 'bitches' in this case. Full of bluster, beauty and bravery. A must-read for women able to admit to being 'older'.
Ellyn Lem
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an updated collection from the anthology "The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage," and maybe I should have read that work first since the authors revisit issues and changes from their essays in the first volume. However, be that as it may, I still found much to appreciate in many of the essays. A few of these women I knew from different contexts--Sarah Crichton now runs her own publishing house and I have appreciated books that ...more
Alice Ye
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm always happy to read an anthology, whether or not I like every piece. In fact, I rather like that I'll find myself vehemently shaking my head on one page and then feeling moved on another page. Below are my favorite essays because they either resonated with me or they showed me a perspective I never thought about before:
1. Fifty Shades of Free
2. Trading Places
3. Beyond the Myth of Co-Parenting
4. Jason, Me, & Jesus
5. What Was In It for ME

I think there's something for any reader in
Dec 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I was quickly pulled into the essays, but as I read on, I found myself slogging through the essays that just seemed to be one after the other about marriage and relationships to the point they blurred together. Seems no married man or woman is having enough sex in a marriage. The essay I liked best was the last, in which the writer Cynthia Kling speaks about a subject outside of her relationship and her own life. The other essay that resonated with me was Pam Houston’s essay about how much she n ...more
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
An even better collection than the first. One of the complaints I saw about the 1st book was that so many of the contributors work as writers, a profession that is easier to do part-time, from home, or on a flexible schedule. It’s a valid point, but since I took work from home as a writer and content manager on a flexible schedule, the complaints and frustrations in the 1st book rang true. The second book looked more at reviewing your life and adjusting if necessary. As a woman in my 40s, where ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-books
I really loved this book, never got a chance to read the first one but boy can I relate to these stories of life. As a single mom of three always feeling alone or judged or disrespected by others while I am just trying to do my best, The bitch is back puts me smack dab in the mid-fifties and reading this help me to see in writing that everything I went thru I wasn't alone. Not everyone is famous but women and men go thru real life every day despite what people see on the outside,inside we all ha ...more
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I read the original book about 15 years ago in college... and wrote a paper on it for a sociology class. At the end of the day, I just couldn't get into this one the way I did with the first. The introduction didn't grab me and none of the early essays managed to either. I also found it difficult to relate to or cheer on the writers... a sentiment which did not strike me the first time around. Overall, despite my excitement to see this follow-up published... I just could not get into the book an ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am generally a fan of autobiographical essays grouped around a single subject. I have read several over the years, including "The Bitch in the House." It was a pleasure to read most of these pieces, which are follow-ups to the original volume. However, there was a pervasive privilege to a lot of the contributors that ultimately undermined the power of the writing. The best essays veer away from this, but also seemed a bit exploitative.
Joelle Klein
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I listened to this on Audible but I would definitely recommend reading it instead. Having one reader read all the stories made them seem repetitive and similar. Much better to hear the different women's voices in your head while you read. I probably would've give it an extra star if I read it instead of listened to it. Aside from that, the stories were interesting, some more so than others. I think it would make a great book group book, especially for a co-ed book group.
Karla Winick-Ford
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, I read a lot,... and this caught my eye and I picked up and started reading without knowing what I was getting myself into. Amazed at the open honesty that makes you feel "normal"- nonfictional narratives about aging women and their success, or not so successful, stories. Affirms what happens when you articulate your voice. I appreciate the bravery these collective authors compiled so that I could read. It's well worth the time.
Mary Helene
Aug 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed the original Bitch in the House ten years or so ago. But I think I’ve outgrown this genre. I read the introduction and the first story in this sequel, but I have lost particular interest in these white privileged lives. I am still interested in the lives of my peers (white, privileged) but not in these particularly curated stories. I’ll spend my time listening to my neighbors instead. Same stories, less eloquence, lots of grit.
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta
I picked this book up in an airport excepting a great read. But it was depressing.

There was only one story I liked, "Trading Places" by Julianna Baggott. She was fun, inspiring, and a true romantic. And unlike the other tales, her honesty wasn't bitter. She was also memorable. I found myself telling her story to friends weeks after I read it. Well done, Julianna Baggott.
Kristine Berg
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Essays by many women who have made hard choices, big mistakes, questionable left turns, and come to terms with it. Some who haven't; who are still searching, or have become resigned, some have even become contented.
Some inspirational moments, some challenging ones, some provocative thinking.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique & American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s
  • Men Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex, and Power
  • Best Sex Writing 2013: The State of Today's Sexual Culture
  • Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy
  • Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice
  • . . . and His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man
  • The Right Side of History: 100 Years of LGBTQ Activism
  • Tainted Witness: Why We Doubt What Women Say about Their Lives
  • Catherwood
  • Yarn: Remembering the Way Home
  • The Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty
  • Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader
  • Consent on Campus: A Manifesto
  • Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation
  • The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century
  • Loose Diamonds ...and other things I've lost (and found) along the way
  • Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men
  • Why Have Children?: The Ethical Debate
“But the birch tree reminded me of how large the world was and how unimportant was my place in it. It became a reminder: to let things be what they were, to live unsentimentally. To pare away the unnecessary neuroses, the compulsion to be at the center of every thought; to look at the world without the intervening lens of self.” 1 likes
More quotes…