Why can't I say the W word?

That's widow by the way.

There's a new book due out called A widow's guide to sex, love and relationships.

It's a novel -- not a self-help book :) -- and has reportedly bagged the writer a $700,000 advance.

Here's what author Carole Radziwill says about her work:

I couldn't help but wonder...Can sex and love co-exist peacefully? Are widows the new virgins? Are men biologically hardwired to spread their seed? The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating is a novel about death, sex and love, in that order.

And here's an opener about the plot:

While Claire Byrne is on a writing assignment in Texas, her philandering husband Charlie is struck dead in an absurd collision with a rare bronze sculpture. In the odd weeks that follow – funeral, Xanax, a swarthy undertaker, and mounting bills  -- Claire braces for her new life. She surrounds herself with an eccentric chorus of friends, psychics, storytellers and Jungian shrinks to guide her way. 

Described as based on real life but not autobiographical, it's tapping into a fascination with how widows relate to the opposite sex.

The salacious tome has already grabbed the sort of column inches more earnest authors can but dream of.

But it makes me feel a teensy bit queasy. When do we ever hear of widows as anything other than a stoic older woman forever living in the past or at the other extreme, a sex starved predator for whom other people's husbands are easy prey?

I'm neither and nor will I ever be.

"Are widows the new virgins?" what on earth does that mean? I don't know but I do know the answer's no.

I'm interested in finding out about how we view widows and how stereotypes may be challenged.

Do you know of anyone or anything I should read about to help me as I find out for myself what it's like to be a widow? What resources would you recommend?

I'd love to find out more -- even if I can't bring myself to say the word out loud.

Thank you.


  1. Widows are people and it seems bizarre to categorise them as 'the new virgins' or older women with little outlook on life. I can only speak from my mum's point of view after my dad passed away in 2001. It naturally destroyed her and the usual roller coaster of emotions eventually gave her the strength to carry on. She's had a partner now for 7 years and although they'll never marry, they may live together eventually. They're both 70 next year and having a great life together.

    I know nothing about the book in question but that's one hell of an advance!

    CJ x

  2. Hi CJ thanks for commenting. Sounds like your mum has found her own path, just as it should be with us all as individuals. This author is very glamorous and part of a series called Real Housewives, apparently.

  3. Hi Linda, you are a 'w'. A wife and a wonderful mom. You and N will always be married, in sickness and in health and no one can change that fact. Legal terms are ugly. If widow is uncomfortable, dont use it
    You will beat the right path in life with your girls and will make the right decisions for you all. Live, remember and be happy honey and don't beat yourself up so much. love to you all. xx (TP)
    PS:$700K?? If anyone can write a british version - you can....

    1. Hello! What a lovely thing to say, I don't think I could manage £70 :) thanks for your lovely comment. . Xx


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