Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Why We Can't Sleep: Women's New Midlife Crisis” as Want to Read:
Why We Can't Sleep: Women's New Midlife Crisis
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Why We Can't Sleep: Women's New Midlife Crisis

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  36 reviews
When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too?

Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt ave
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Grove Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  50 ratings  ·  36 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
Can’t sleep?
Wonder about others sleeping habits?

The author primarily focuses on Generation X women....
but....if you find yourself awake in the middle of the night won’t feel alone after reading ‘this’ book!

Ha... I read this during the middle of the night.

Ada Calhoun did her research!!!
She interviewed thousands of women around the country.
We get insights about what concerns Generation X women......
single women - divorce women
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky to receive an early copy of this book from Edelweiss. I have read a lot of books about women in today's society, but never one that examined the problem from a generational lens. I did my master's research paper on generations in the workplace, specifically the library, and it was really interesting to get a new perspective on it. Calhoun is a member of Generation X, and so the book focuses mostly on that generation, but there is plenty of context from the other generations as well. ...more
P.S.G. Lopes
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
***I cannot believe I was blessed to read this AMAZING book before it was formally released. I was invited to read this book through #NetGalley. ***

Ada Calhoun’s Why We Can’t Sleep has become my bible, my battle cry, my feminist go-to book for women my age. I got so much out of reading this book. The very second I picked up this book I literally absorbed each and every word and got angrier (in the best possible way), more passionate, and more dedicated to my own goals and missions.

Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
When it is hot as heck outside and there is nothing cool to do but reading as everything else makes you end up a sweaty mess, it is the perfect day for a speed reader.

I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that
Sara Smith
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: early-reads
I received a free ARC of this book through Netgalley.

From the title of this book, you might think it's about sleep, but really the focus is more on what are the biggest worries of the Generation X. The author is only a year older than me so being in the same cohort, it was reassuring to read that I am not alone in my anxiety. Financial concerns make up a large part of what keeps us up at night. An interesting read.
Sometimes the right book comes into your life just when you need it. This was the book I didn't know that I needed and now I want to get copies of it for all of my friends who are middle-aged Gen-Xers. Heck, I want to get copies for my Boomer and Millennial friends, too, because we should all be talking about it! I cannot wait until its January 2020 release and hope that I get to discuss it with my friends soon after it is published. I'm not typically a re-reader, but this is going to be one of ...more
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading Why We Can't Sleep by Ada Calhoun felt like I was reading a biography of my own life. The main premise of the book examines that current life trajectories of women from Generation X (born 1965-1980). Women in Generation X are the first to deal with new expectations, due to the great strides achieved by women of earlier generations. For example, the ability to work outside the home and have children was normalized, but for Gen X women the expectation is that we WILL do both. As Calhoun so ...more
Maria Ryan
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gen X’er’s are a unique lot. Known as the “Jan Brady of generations”, the perpetual generational middle child sandwiched between the bold Boomers and Millennials…aka the kids we babysat for. We stand with one foot firmly rooted in the pre-internet, pre-tech age and one in the present age of selfie-explosion and social-media-presence-as-a-resume-requirement. Our 360 degree view of the world creates a set of original challenges that we are apparently best suited for in terms of our
Rebecca L.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Why We Can't Sleep by Ada Calhoun tackles the questions that keep us awake at night. She addresses the challenges and issues that many women face during middle age from an empathetic and scholarly perspective that is both enjoyable and educational for the casual reader. According to Calhoun, the burden of choice that women now face is both liberating and deeply troubling. We are not alone when we  look back on our lives and wonder: "Did I marry the right person?" "Did I choose the right career?" ...more
Jena Henry
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have you seen that meme? The one about your brain at 3 am waking you to review every dumb and cringe-worthy thing you have done lately? Then this is the book for you, especially if you are part of Generation X.

In her fascinating end notes, the author tells us that there is a range of years that can be called Generation X. One range is 1965-1984, from the movie Dr. Zhivago to the movie Ghostbusters. Another range is 1965-1980. Whichever range you pick, if you are a Gen X-er, this is the book for
Angela C
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

While I consider myself on the young end of generation X or a very old millennial, I really identified with this book. This book provides an eye-opening look at the societal factors that helped shape generation x, women specifically, in ways that we’re/they’re still grappling with today.

Like every generation before me, I’ve always felt like my life was shaped by the world events that occurred during my formative years: the Challenger explosion, Operation Desert Storm, the C
Alison Simpson
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
First of all, my overall impression of this book is, SHE NAILED IT.

Everything resonated with me. I am right smack-dab in the middle of the audience she is writing for, I think perhaps she wrote the book personally for me :)....Seriously, this book is GOOD. And explains so much in a way that I never thought about, because she takes a generational approach and I was in the thick of it in the 70's and 80's and could not understand how my surroundings, the overarching society, and the ef
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 stars

I received a complimentary e-book copy of this book from Grove Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you to Ada Calhoun, Grove Press, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

This is a really hard book to review. It was very funny, very sobering, very educational, very empowering, and very scholastic at times. To me, this book was the VERY best when it was funny AND educational!! The author is REALLY FUNN
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm glad this book exists, but as a millennial I didn't find much to relate to (to her credit, the author admits this straight off the bat). However, as the author also says, I did relate to some of it and even more importantly, I had a better understanding of the smallest generation, Gen X. My parents are firmly Boomers but I have a few friends who fall slightly in the Gen X camp and this book gave me a better understanding of the world they grew up in. I think the only disappointment for me wa ...more
Jenny Muller
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was provided an advance copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a book-length expansion of the article that rocked my and my friends' world, about the midlife crisis of Gen X women. It goes into much greater depth about all the things we are up against, at work and in our families and in our bodies and in our culture, to explain the specific struggle we women in our 40s and 50s currently face. The first few chapters cover well-trod ground--work-life balance, child care, par
Megan Byrd
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books-read
A book that focuses on Gen X women (many of whom are currently in their forties and fifties) and the reasons many are feeling anxious or dissatisfied with how their lives have turned out. It discusses their childhood experiences including being minimally supervised and the sky high divorce rate. Many Gen Xers are overly cautious and feel that everything is up to them (they can't rely on others for support. They focused on careers, putting off marriage and kids until they felt secure but then man ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: middle class Gen-X women
Shelves: reviewed, netgalley
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for potentially providing a review. That said, this book was written for me. The author, Ada Calhoun, is clear from the start that her target audience is middle class women from Generation X. She gives a well-reasoned explanation for why she doesn't include other groups in this book. That doesn't mean other people can't read it. In fact, if you are trying to understand a middle class Gen-X woman, read this book.

I related on a very de
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Unlike many 'self help' books which suggest they hold the answers to life's mysteries, Why We Can't Sleep helps the reader find real answers, helping them to see and understand the time and society we've lived in. As a gay male born on the cusp of the boomer/GenX divide, I found so much truth and realizations while reading Ada Calhoun's beautifully researched book. This book is by no means a downer. Calhoun has woven the stories from many women she interviewed, with her own life experiences, and ...more
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was an interesting insight to why women of Generation X (those entering middle age now) are struggling with the challenges of middle age. From menopause to thinking we should have had it all by now, Calhoun explores some commonly held beliefs and the stress they cause. She goes into depth about why this Generation is dealing with different and unique stresses than the ones that came before. She also offers ideas of reframing the stress and other ways to minimize the impact on your life ...more
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a boomer but wanted to read the book to learn what my kids would be facing. I think the book was informative, well written and a book that will be used over and over. I think it will give so many peace of mind to know they aren't alone.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and am buying it for my kids when it is published. I had a go-to book that I used over and over and I think this is a book that they will read if only to know they aren't alone. Most if not all of their generation is facing t
Kahri Lynn
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a Gen X woman and I can't sleep. Are you? This book is for others like us or who are interested in understanding us. Although this book literally does cover insomnia, it also, more importantly, covers the myriad of things that Gen X women are thinking about and worried about. We have a unique set of worries, like every generation, and Calhoun is able to put into words what being a Gen X,middle age woman is all about. This book is great for finding out we are not alone, starting to understan ...more
Sherri Thacker
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
“You come to this place, midlife. You don’t know how you get here, but suddenly you’re staring 50 in the face!” Yes this was me 6 years ago when i turned the big 5-0 and I knew this book was written about me. Especially with the title as I have not slept good in YEARS!! But this book is more about the facts of being in the Generation X group of women which according to this book, I miss it by a year since I was born in 1963. I found myself skimming large sections because I was losing interest. T ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was so intrigued when I saw an email pop up in my mail about this book. Being a woman of 49, I was curious about whether or not I was the only one who felt lost, tired and underappreciated while moving into my next faze of life. Considering what I want to do for the next 15-20 years as a college educated woman that decided to stay home and raise 2 young men. This book was spot on. Here we go ladies! Gen X women unite!
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought the premise of this book was fascinating, particularly because I am the subject of Calhoun's research - a female Gen Xer. Her exploration of my generation and how our experiences growing up contributed to the midlife crises we find ourselves in today is thorough and illuminating. However, while her intention was to provide a reassurance for the reader, I found her message a bit dreary. I'm not sure a woman in the throes of a midlife crisis, - be it financial, emotional, social, or any ...more
Kathy Iwanicki
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I picked up this book because I thought it was going to help me sleep through the night. That really wasn’t what this book was about. The facts were interesting as a Generation X and how midlife is affecting us and why. At times, I felt that there was just so much negative. But I do agree, many of us are not where we are in life we thought we would be at this time.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm the prime demographic for this book, born the same year as the author, so I'm solidly a Gen-Xer.
While this book doesn't offer a ton of solutions, it does make you feel like you're not alone. It covers topics ranging from family, society, workalike, health and mental well-being. Highly recommend it for all us stressed-out Gen X women!
I read an Advanced Reader Copy via NetGalley
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Hm. When I asked for the book I was sure it was a book calling for me. Very soon I learned it doesn't and wouldn't. Born in 1962 - I figured I'd be able to relate, somehow, but I couldn't. Interesting experience, though.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a copy!
It's like my editor knew I'd be awake at 4 a.m. to read and review this one.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is a Goodreads win review. I did not see the purpose of this book. The title is misleading.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Award-winning journalist Ada Calhoun is the author of the NYC history St. Marks Is Dead, chosen by Kirkus and the Boston Globe as one of the best books of 2015; the essay collection Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give, named by W magazine one of the best 10 memoirs of 2017; and Why We Can't Sleep: Women's New Midlife Crisis, coming out January, 7, 2020.