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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

The Panic Years: something between adolescence and menopause, a personal crisis, a transformation.

The panic years can hit at any time but they are most commonly triggered somewhere between the ages of 25 and 40. During this time, every decision a woman makes - from postcode to partner, friends to family, work to weekends - will be impacted by the urgency of the one decision with a deadline, the one decision that is impossible to take back: whether or not to have a baby.

But how to stay sane in such a maddening time?

How to understand who you are and what you might want from life?

How to know if you're making the right decisions?

Raw, hilarious and beguilingly honest, Nell Frizzell's account of her panic years is both an arm around the shoulder and a campaign to start a conversation. This affects us all - women, men, mothers, children, partners, friends, colleagues - so it's time we started talking about it with a little more candour. 

©2019 Nell Frizzell (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Every millennial woman should have it on her bookshelf." (Pandora Sykes, journalist and cohost of The High Low Podcast)

"Vital reading. Nell Frizzell is a master." (Rob Delaney, cowriter and costar of Catastrophe)

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  • Overall
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A hard one to review

If you're going through the Panic Years yourself, this is a really difficult listen. It induces further panic and I think it should be made much clearer that it's ONE WOMAN'S very normative experience, rather than a book which delves in detail into the science, media, accepted norms and expectations which elicit such panic. The book never purports to represent anything other than the writer's view, hence why I say it's a hard one to review, but in it's cover copy, presentation and the way it is written, it does give off the impression that it will look more widely at the panic years from an objective point of view. Instead half the book is taken up with covering the writer's relationship, pregnancy and experience with a child, which is fairly triggering for the target audience. Small point, but perhaps it could have done with bringing in more and differing opinions, rather than just recounting conversations with mates - all of whom seem to also be writers - which reinforced the writer's, and therefore the listener's, sense of panic and failure. Basically it left me feeling more like a failure, more panicked, more scared that I might lose the opportunity to have something I don't even know I want, and more sad that the world has made late 20's - mid 30 something women like me feel this way than before I started the book. So it's effective, but not comfortable. Or possibly what women seeking to understand their panic need.

11 people found this helpful

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got a bit boring

It started off well and it does touch on some good points but then it was just about her life and her pregnancy/life with a baby - which I think in itself would be triggering for the supposed audience. by the end I found it really difficult to listen too in places. I also found the book full of privilege so found it hard to relate too.

3 people found this helpful

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Painfully white middle-class, stagnant and full of observational cliché

Currently 7 chapters in and realising that this is really not as fun or engaging as I thought it could be. It’s really old hat, reliant on weak observational comedic moments. I can’t find it me to like the voice. The idea of the time period called the flux is poorly conceived and really unimaginative. The attempt to validate it by enlisting other name possibilities for the phase in time she is desperate to name makes it seem even worse. Just listened to No One Is Talking About This, which is totally ahead of it’s time and makes this piece of non-fiction embarrassingly stuffy. Tbh just watch series one of Sex and the City and you can see the same narrative arch made decades earlier with more fun and sass. As a work of non-fiction it is too white and middle-class, and really highlighted to me how this type of prose reflection is so one dimensional. I regret buying it.

2 people found this helpful

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Beginners only

If you never heard any feminist arguments, you'll have a revelation. Otherwise - a drag. Very narcissistic of the author to just tell her story and market it as a guide through hard times. The book misses its own point - she didn't have a revelation, she didn't mature and chose partners whose goals align. Instead, she whined and guilt tripped her bf who never wanted kids into having a baby with her. Subsequently, he is always at work and never helps with the baby unless she is on the edge of literally smashing the baby against the floor. Do NOT take that as a success story and an example to follow please.

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Loved it

Thank you for writing this book and for your honesty, it was exactly what I needed to hear at the moment.

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DNF'd this one...

I think the author just likes talking about themselves - I wonder if this would have been better read by someone else? A LOT of repetition and a lot of back and forth. No real story and no real educational value.

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Great book, really got me thinking

I'm now beginning to understand my feelings about this more now, thank you Nell. I wondered why reaching 29 hit me like a train. Yes I am married, own a home, I've got a career. I'm doing okay right? But surely children need a stable home that is not a building site to grow up in? Won't I need to save money due to my works lack of enhanced maternity pay? How am I to afford home renovations, saving money, paying bills, paying off loans, all whilst the clock is ticking loudly in my ear?! By the time I've got all that covered, will it be too late?

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Every 30 Something Needs This Book

A really interesting read. As a 32yr old woman (without children), I found some of the themes in this book fascinating. It gave me a lot of food for thought and I found myself reflecting a lot about my own decisions relating to the question of whether I want to be a parent?

I enjoyed Nell’s ability to tell her story in a way that made me feel like I was listening to a friends thoughts. She brought humour as well as realism to a very sensitive topic.

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Interesting insight to motherhood

Not sure how I feel after reading this book as I am feeling mixed emotions. Nevertheless, it is very insightful to hear about the perspective of what women can feel in their early 30s especially those who have thought of having kids someday and what happens after having one. Listening to the book was a really good awareness session and a must read if you're ever feeling in doubt of entering motherhood.

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It was great overall but

Some parts made me even more scared e.g. the success stats of egg freezing, made me feel even more panicked like my plan B,C,D was pointless and I should just have a baby immediately to avoid missing my chance.