Screw You, Dolores, A review by Joanna

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Screw You, Dolores

Sarah-Kate Lynch

Random House, NZ

382 pages

Published in 2014


This comedy-memoir by a New Zealand journalist/novelist, is about the change in mindset that came with turning 50. While claiming to be an approach to finding happiness – at least some of the time – it’s not a self-help book, but rather a chatty monologue about the joys of friendship, family, travel and rosé (lots of rosé!) interspersed with humorous lists, letters and anecdotes – many of which are too embarrassing not to be true.

The title derives from an anecdote from her youth, and she describes wanting to use it as the title of her first book, but deciding it was too rude. Years later, she doesn’t care who she offends – in fact not caring about people who don’t matter is a key part of achieving happiness. Likeable and very funny at times, I found her to be highly relatable. This also has some sad and dark moments – losing loved ones, including her beloved dog, being diagnosed with a serious illness and the uncertainties that come with having to move around for your spouse’s career, but she doesn’t dwell on these for long. It’s a quick read – I finished it in an evening, and there’s a lot of kiwi humour, but I think it could be appreciated by women of a certain age anywhere in the world.

I’ve read several of Lynch’s rom-coms, enjoying some more than others – Blessed Are the Cheesemakers was a 5-star delight, but I’ve never read her magazine pieces or listened to her on the radio, and this was my first of her non-fiction books. It’s been on my radar for years, and of course I was intrigued by that title – but never got round to buying it. I had actually recently added it to my ever-expanding Wishlist of books to buy (when I’ve read all the ones I already have), then a lady down the road posted on Facebook that she was giving books away, and there it was… which is ironic given she repeatedly exhorts the reader to buy the book at full price rather than borrowing, stealing or purchasing it second-hand. So, er, sorry, I guess, but here’s a review instead!

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