A comic exploration of a year in the life of an “imaginatively twisted and fearless” (Los Angeles Times) best-selling author.
Ah, 55. Gateway to the golden years! Professional summiting. Emotional maturity. Easy surfing toward the glassy blue waters of retirement…Or maybe not? Middle age, for Sandra Tsing Loh, feels more like living a disorganized 25-year-old’s life in an 85-year-old’s malfunctioning body. With raucous wit and carefree candor, Loh recounts the struggles of leaning in, staying lean, and keeping her family well-fed and financially afloat—all those burdens of running a household that still, all-too-often, fall to women.
The Madwoman and the Roomba chronicles a roller coaster year for Loh, her partner, and her two teenage daughters in their ramshackle quasi-Craftsman, with a front lawn that’s more like a rectangle of compacted dirt and mice that greet her as she makes her morning coffee. Her daughters are spending more time online than off; her partner has become a Hindu, bringing in a household of monks; and she and her girlfriends are wondering over Groupon “well” drinks how they got here.
Whether prematurely freaking out about her daughters’ college applications, worrying over her eccentric aging father, or overcoming the pitfalls of long-term partnership and the temptations of paired-with-cheese online goddess webinars, Loh somehow navigates the realities of what it means to be a middle-aged woman in the twenty-first century. By day’s end, we just might need a box of chardonnay and a Roomba to clean up the mess.
About the Author
Sandra Tsing Loh is a writer and performer. Her work has been heard on NPR’s Morning Edition and This American Life. Her book The Madwoman in the Volvo was a New York Times Notable Book of 2014. Loh lives in Pasadena, California.
How lucky we are. Sandra Tsing Loh’s hilarious, snarky, insightful, and compassionate inner monologue could have stayed inside her head. But she wrote it all down, and that makes us the fortunate ones. I laughed from the beginning to the end. You will too. If you don’t there’s something seriously wrong with you.
— Julia Sweeney, comedian
This wildly funny book proves that the more of life’s indignities that are heaped on Sandra Tsing Loh, the more we will thrill to her brilliant wit and rock-solid resilience. I laughed about seventy times, welled up twice, and cried at the end. Spectacular.
— Henry Alford, author of Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?
If humor will save us from these times—and if not, nothing will—Sandra Tsing Loh should be president. Or, better, queen. I devoured this perceptive, of-the-moment book about midlife love, work, motherhood, peer pressure, and more, with tears of hilarity running down my face. Sandra Tsing Loh could write an oven manual, and I’d laugh. I think she might be the funniest writer writing today.
— Cathi Hanauer, editor of The Bitch in the House
The Madwoman and the Roomba is so funny it woke up my husband. He couldn’t fall back to sleep with all the cackling, so he told me to read it aloud, and then we were both laughing. It’s a year in the life of a very particular family: Mom wants to write The Angry Divorced Mother’s Cookbook; her live-in boyfriend is more interested in the New York Times’ barbecue recipes than in finding a full-time job; her brother strips to his underwear to give their father’s eulogy…In other words, they’re just like the rest of us: trying to get by without killing each other. Do you like laughing? Do you like reading? Buy this book!
— Caitlin Flanagan, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Girl Land