Margot detests shopping malls. Any distraction is welcome, and the woman who has chained herself to the escalator, shouting about the perils of consumerism, is certainly that. She recognises Dot immediately – from their campaigning days, and further back still, to when Margot married Laurence.
Dot is in despair at the abandonment of the sisterhood, at the idea of pole dancing as empowerment and the sight of five-year-olds with false eyelashes and padded bras. She’s still a fierce campaigner, but she isn’t sure where to direct her rage.
Meanwhile Margot holds a haunting resentment that her youthful ambitions have always been shelved to attend to the needs of others. And as the two women turn to the past for solutions for the future, Margot’s family is in crisis. Laurence travels in a bid to repress his grief, daughter Lexie loses her job after twenty years, and younger sister Emma hides her pain with shopping binges.
With aching empathy, Liz Byrski assembles a fallible cast of characters who are asking the questions we ask ourselves. What does it mean to grow older? Are we brave enough to free ourselves from the pressure to stay young? And is there ever a stage in life when we can just be ourselves?