Synopses & Reviews
A delightfully funny novel packing a clever punch, from the author of the New York Times bestselling Julie and Romeo
A mom in her early fifties, Clover knows she no longer turns heads the way she used to, and she's only really missed when dinner isn't on the table on time. Then Clover wakes up one morning to discover she's invisible--truly invisible. She panics, but when her husband and son sit down to dinner, nothing is amiss. Even though she's been with her husband, Arthur, since college, her condition goes unnoticed. Her friend Gilda immediately observes that Clover is invisible, which relieves Clover immensely--she's not losing her mind after all!--but she is crushed by the realization that neither her husband nor her children ever truly look at her. She was invisible even before she knew she was invisible.
Clover discovers that there are other women like her, women of a certain age who seem to have disappeared. As she uses her invisibility to get to know her family and her town better, Clover leads the way in helping invisible women become recognized and appreciated no matter what their role. Smart and hilarious, with indomitable female characters, Calling Invisible Women will appeal to anyone who has ever felt invisible.
Praise for Jeanne Ray’s novels:
"A captivating comic romp...Wise, winsome, and refreshingly optimistic." --People
"A comic gem of a love story...completely entertaining." --The Denver Post
"At last, someone has written a love story for and about grown-ups! A smart, sexy celebration of the timeless nature of romance." --A. Manette Ansay
"A little jewel of a book." --The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Love and desire will not be denied in this lighthearted inversion of a classic story. Filled with the delicate sweetness of fresh flowers and new love, Julie and Romeo is a smart, funny, touching book. Where has Jeanne Ray been hiding all these years?" --Alison McGhee, author of Shadow Baby
"A charming, smart love story with interesting characters and great laughs." -- The Christian Science Monitor
"Fifty-something Clover has long felt invisible to her husband and children, but when she wakes one morning to discover she can't see herself in the mirror, her fears become reality. Initially, she panics and worries that she is going blind, or even worse, insane her son, Nick, and husband, Arthur, don't seem to notice. Clover soon realizes, however, that she isn't imagining her invisibility and her family had simply stopped seeing her years ago. When browsing the classified section of the newspaper, Clover finds an ad for an upcoming meeting: 'Calling Invisible Women.' She soon discovers a community of other middle-aged, invisible women, who inform Clover that their condition is caused by a reaction between three drugs made by Dexter-White pharmaceuticals: an antidepressant, a hormone replacement therapy drug, and a calcium supplement. Meeting more afflicted women inspires Clover to embrace her invisibility rather than hide it. She shadows her husband at work, polices the school buses to stop bullies, and even thwarts a bank robbery. With other women in the support group, Clover decides to take action against Dexter-White and demand justice for the drug interaction that caused their condition. While Ray's concept of middle-aged women feeling overlooked by society may not be new, the characters in this fast, fun read are empowered and proactive. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jeanne Ray worked as a registered nurse for forty years before she wrote her first novel at the age of sixty. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and her dog, Red. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Julie and Romeo, Julie and Romeo Get Lucky, Eat Cake, and Step-Ball-Change.
Reading Group Guide
1. What do you think of Clover’s life early on in the book? Is it one with which you can identify? Do you think her relationship with her husband is normal? What about with her children? She seems outwardly happy and well adjusted; do you think that she is?
2. When Clover realizes she is invisible, she is frightened. How might you feel if you became invisible and your family didn’t notice? Or do you think they would? Her best friend, Gilda, notices immediately. What does that say to you regarding family vs. friends? If you were Clover, do you think it would be the same?
3. Do you think Arthur is a normal (if overworked) husband? Do you think he truly loves Clover and is invested in his children? His job?
4. Clover makes an appointment with a doctor to attempt to understand her condition, yet the doctor does not notice that she is invisible or even really listens to her. Have you ever suspected that a physician (or person in authority) wasn’t really listening to you? How did you react?
5. What do you think precipitated Clover’s act of bravery in the parking lot? Have you ever wanted to do something like that but were afraid?
6. Finding a group of women who were also invisible was of huge benefit to Clover. Have you ever been a part of a support group, whether formal or informal? What did you get out of that experience?
7. Nick is two years out of college, back living at home, and depressed. Can you identify with his situation? Do you have family in similar situations? Do you think he’s overreacting?
8. Clover’s mother-in-law, Irene, is a font of wisdom. What do you think of her statements, “invisibility can be an impediment or a power depending on how you decide to use it” and, “perhaps that’s the lesson in all of this, not who can see you, but who you can learn to see?”
9. Even though Arthur doesn’t see Clover, their romantic life becomes in some ways more powerful. Why?
10. Why do you think Clover’s day on the school bus with Lila was so meaningful to both of them?
11. What was your reaction to Evie’s character? Is she spoiled or merely in the solipsism of great beauty and youth? How do you think this compares to Vlad and his relationship to his invisible mother?
12. Do you think that Clover’s day in Arthur’s office helped her understand his situation and the daily stresses he faces? Have you ever wanted to see what the daily life of your significant other was like?
13. Do you identify with Clover’s experience of invisibility? What do you feel was the most important lesson Clover’s invisibility taught the rest of the characters?