In Jaqueline Luckett's debut novel, Searching for Tina Turner, a woman is lost. A marriage crumbles. Children denounce their mother. Friends turn their backs, and an entire way of life becomes little more than fading memory. And yet this is a story ultimately about hope, resurrection and maybe, love.
The amazing Tina Turner acts as a catalyst for Lena Spencer's change from aspiring CEO's dutiful housewife to independent woman. You see, Lena's been down. She's not sure exactly what it is she wants, but she knows that she doesn't have it. Oh, the material things are there; in abundance. Her home is tastefully and expensively furnished. Her clothing is designer, and her jewels are exquisite. Yet something is missing. Lena loves her husband, even though he's so often working, or away on business. She loves her children, too, though they have grown away from her, as teenagers rightly should. Is it right to want more than that?
When Tina Turner was forty-two she gathered the courage to leave an abusive relationship and physically work her way back to stardom. A woman in her forties and fifties is particularly vulnerable. Often considered too old to move on, too old to start over, too old to begin. We know that Tina could do it, but can Lena?
Lena demands more from her husband. His response (to paraphrase) is "Get yourself together, be happy with what I've given you, or get over it." Using Tina's example, she goes with the first option. It is what happens next that makes this story so appealing.
Lena Spencer doesn't immediately take the world by storm, but she does decide to go to France and get her copy of I, Tina signed by the great songstress herself. She wants to thank her for her courage, for being an inspiration. It seems a small goal, but it takes guts to go after what you want. Lena's journey to self-recognizance should ring true to all of us.
I know so many women, including myself, who have found themselves disappearing into their marriage. There seems to be so much "we", and so little "me". When children are involved, the suppression of a woman's wants and needs can become second nature. After a while, it seems almost wrong to make choices whose results would only be self-satisfying.
Ms. Luckett writes of the mid-life woman's malaise. Searching for Tina Turner is a fascinating look into what happens when privilege isn't enough. I highly recommend this to anyone who's looking for a good read. But more than that, I recommend this to all restless women. You may not make the same choices, but it's exhilirating to read about, all the same!
Interested? You can hear from Jaqueline Luckett today at 6pm, courtesy of BlogTalkRadio in a live interview.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a copy of Searching for Tina Turner by Jaqueline E. Luckett to read by Hatchette Book Group/Grand Central Publishing in exchange for a fair and objective review. I did not take payment from the publisher or author of this book beyond a copy of the book in question. Disclosure Policy