Sandra Tsing Loh On The Mess Of A Midlife Crisis

Writer and performer Sandra Tsing Loh on raging hormones and her new book, “The Madwoman in the Volvo.”

Writer, actor and performer Sandra Tsing Loh. (Courtesy Sandra Tsing Loh / W.W. Norton)

Writer, actor and performer Sandra Tsing Loh. (Courtesy Sandra Tsing Loh / W.W. Norton)

When writer and performer Sandra Tsing Loh blew up her life in the thick of her life, she did it with all guns blazing.  Midlife crisis, a big extra-marital affair and menopause – all in one spectacular meltdown.  Nothing halfway.  Her blow-up eventually singed and battered everybody – her ex, her kids, her lover, herself.  It sent her on a painful exploration of  hormones and dreams, love and marriage, passion and parenting.  It made her, she writes, a pirate in her own life, pillaging and staggering.  Now she’s out the other side.  This hour On Point:  Sandra Tsing Loh and her story – “The Madwoman in the Volvo.”

— Tom Ashbrook


Sandra Tsing Loh, writer and performer. Author of the new book, “The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones.” Contributing editor at The Atlantic. Host of The Loh Down On Science. Also author of “Mother on Fire.” (@SandraTsingLoh)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: The Monogamy Trap — “Having blown up my own long-term marriage via an extramarital affair, followed by a traumatic divorce, I tend to think of love as less a gently glowing hearth than a set of flaming train tracks you strap yourself onto. My library specializes in wild and messy opuses by bad girls, like Cristina Nehring’s ‘A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-First Century’, Laura Kipnis’s ‘Against Love: A Polemic’, and let’s not forget Helen Fielding’s latest Bridget Jones installment, ‘Mad About the Boy’, which has our heroine at age 51, undaunted by embarrassing hair-coloring incidents and dropped reading glasses, shagging a 29-year-old.”

New York Times: ‘The M Word,’ About Menopause and Money — “The battle between women and their hormones is only one skirmish in a plot powered by the standoff between money — the other “M” word — and creativity. In one corner are the employees of a limping television station in Los Angeles; in the other are the New York suits (led by Michael Imperioli) charged with balancing the books. The creatives, however, have a secret weapon: The appropriately named Moxie (Mr. Jaglom’s frequent leading lady, Tanna Frederick), the star of a children’s show and the would-be director of a documentary about the change of life.”

The New Yorker: Books to Watch Out For — “Loh’s experiences with hormonal upheaval and life changes in her late forties, including an affair followed by a messy divorce and her efforts to keep her eccentric elderly father out of trouble. She also explores the various ways in which women, past and present, have dealt with menopause. As she puts it: ‘The bad news … is: We are not allowed to have gothic moods in menopause, any more than we were allowed to have cigarettes and martinis during pregnancy….'”

Read An Excerpt From “The Madwoman In The Volvo” by Sandra Tsing Loh


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