Lessons from midlife

Society often gets things wrong. One of which is underestimating women of a certain age. We believe women of all ages are strong, inspiring, powerful, independent, and free-thinking. There is change and opportunity at every stage of life, and women at midlife are no exception.

We’ve found one of the best ways to navigate change is to appreciate and value the lessons from other women. So we’ve pulled together a list of accessible books that feature excellent advice and useful lessons on midlife from some brilliant women writers.

Books with lessons from midlife

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Before there was Julia Roberts, there was Elizabeth Gilbert. Elizabeth had what every woman was told they should want in their thirties; the house, the husband, the high-powered career but she is miserable and crying on the bathroom floor at 3am. A bitter divorce and messy love affair later, Elizabeth is finally ready to purse her truth and find the answers she has been searching for.

From learning Italian in Rome, visiting an ashram in India and a toothless medicine man in Bali, she sets off on an adventure to find the one thing her old life didn’t have: happiness.


There Are No Grown-Ups by Pamela Druckerman

Pamela Druckerman has an excellent way of accessing the universal dilemmas and thoughts we all face which makes this book perfect if you’re looking for something lighter but no less reassuring.

There Are No Grown-Ups is a midlife coming-of-age story, a hilarious quest for wisdom, self-knowledge and the right pair of pants. It’s a book for readers of all ages about – finally – becoming yourself.


‘What’s Wrong With Me?’: 101 Things Midlife Women Need to Know by Lorraine Candy

Former Women’s Prize judge Lorraine Candy’s memoir is a reassuring guide that will help readers feel less alone, if overtaken by the surprise of life’s sometimes big and messy changes.

Covering everything from empty nests, career reinvention, sex, marriage, brain fog, burnout, perimenopause and menopause, the advice is honest, open and forgiving.


Menopausing by Davina McCall

Davina McCall and Dr Naomi Potter are on a mission to get rid of the stigma, shame and self-loathing surrounding the menopause. In this inspiring book they discuss every aspect with care, helping women feel better informed about what is happening to their body both inside and out. They explore and explain the science around the menopause, debunk damaging myths and shatter the taboo around the perimenopause and menopause. They equip women with as much information as possible, to allow them to make better decisions about their health and their lives. If you are looking for a self-help guide packed full of accessible information, this is it.


I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

Even if you do not recognise her name, you will have seen a movie that Nora Ephron has written, creating classics such as When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. And yet, Nora’s non-fiction work arguably surpasses her romantic comedy genius. Her thoughts on being a woman include: if the shoe doesn’t fit in the store, it’s never going to fit; never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from; when your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.

Making aging as a woman a joy rather than an embarrassment, this book will help you laugh through your middle years.


Cracking the Menopause: While keeping yourself together by Mariella Frostrup and Alice Smellie

Nutritional therapist and founder of The Better Menopause Jo Lyall has recommended – Cracking the Menopause by Mariella Frostup and Alice Smellie.

Designed to equip you with the knowledge to manage your symptoms from perimenopause onwards, this essential book separates the myths from the reality and offers expertise, hope and advice.


If you enjoyed these book choices, and have others you would like to suggest, head over to our social pages to let us know!

The Women's Prize Podcast

Tune into host Vick Hope and a line-up of incredible guests on our weekly podcast full of unmissable book recommendations.