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Into The Wild

Joanne Fedler
Joanne Fedler Author Interview

Unbecoming follows a woman who goes on a spiritual walk through the Australian bush to come to terms with her age and where she’s at in life. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The midlife turning point in my own life as well as the empty nest has come at a time when the future of the planet is under threat because of climate change. The world we birthed our children into 20 years ago is not the world they have inherited. So I sent my main character out of her comfort zone and into the wild to reconnect with the elements and with other women, whose stories and truths are a balm against the uncertainties of tomorrow.

Jo’s character was relatable and felt authentic. Did you pull anything from real life to inform her character?

Yes – Jo is based on me, as Frank is based on my husband, and the kids are loosely based on my kids. Unbecoming can be read as the third in a trilogy of books on motherhood (Secret Mothers’ Business and The Reunion precede it) and all three books have been based on real evenings, weekends and experiences I have had with groups of women.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Climate change, elderhood, menopause, letting go of our adult children, the wisdom of nature, ordinary women as heroes, and mortality.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have just completed working on a comic novel called Gagman with my 81 year old father, Dov Fedler (a political cartoonist) about an inmate in the concentration camps who survives by telling jokes to the commandant. It is currently with my literary agent and publishers www.gagmanmedia.com.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

You can do one night, Jo reminds herself as she follows five women into the Australian bush.
Where are they going to sleep? And pee?
Jo probably should have let her husband Frank know. Just in case. Because you never know what can happen in the wild.
***
While on her three-month marriage-and-motherhood sabbatical in the country, Jo bumps into an old friend Fiona who invites her on a ‘sacred silent walk to mark her 57th birthday – the first since her husband Ben died.
The last thing Jo wants is to share anything about herself – these are Fiona’s friends, not hers. And what’s she going to say? That her young adult children have made life choices she doesn’t understand? That she has no idea who she is anymore? That everything is falling apart – even her ‘happy marriage’ to Frank?
But the unexpected intrusion of a young backpacker into their secret location, unleashes powerful and conflicting emotions in each woman, provoking conversations and confidences that stray into the shadowlands of motherhood, the mysteries of midlife, the future of monogamy and mother Earth.
Under the canopy of the open night sky, around a small, tended fire, the women share wise counsel, spill their secrets and offer up their stories, each exposing corners of truth the others need to hear.
Unbecoming is a funny, heartbreaking and provocative homage to the midlife unravelling as women on the brink of elderhood speak honestly about their lives and wonder what the hell to do with vaginas that are not ready to be put out to pasture just yet.

Unbecoming

Unbecoming by Joanne Fedler is a provocative book that needs to be read by women young and old everywhere! Jo is a soon-to-be empty nester, new to menopause, and coming to terms with the fact she may have wanted more out of life. It’s a classic tale of a woman’s midlife crisis. During her unraveling, Jo hesitantly sets out on a spiritual silent walk in the Australian Bush with friends she hasn’t spoken to in years. On this journey, Jo learns that she isn’t on this midlife ride alone – every woman has their fair share of unraveling too.

Joanne Fedler’s Unbecoming is an emotionally charged book that is not afraid to speak the truth and follow it wherever it leads. The book explores questions every woman has had or is going to have at some point in their life. Some may even say they are questions women should ask before they settle into married life. It feels as though this book is an open dialogue between you and the main character, Jo, for this reason.

I also appreciate the spiritual and sisterhood aspects of this novel. Fedler displays the immense importance of these gifts and how they can help us understand life and Mother Nature herself.

I’ve already stated why this book is a must-read for inspirational and philosophical reasons. Now let me discuss Fedler’s writing abilities. Spoiler alert – they’re fantastic!

Fedler knows how to craft perfectly imperfect characters – this skill is extremely rare to find. Jo, unlike many other middle-aged characters in modern novels, does not present herself as fictional. She feels like your mom, aunt, sister, or simply your close family friend. We can all understand what Jo is going through and all know a woman like her. Her life wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t a fairytale. Her body is not perfect from hours of yoga – it shows signs of age and motherhood. The list goes on.

I also appreciated the representation of different lifestyles amongst the female characters. Despite living these different lives, being a woman is a universally shared experienced.

There are so many amazing things I can say about this book! It was a story I am glad to have read. If you’re looking for a heartwarming and inspirational read, then you have to pick up Unbecoming by Joanne Fedler.

Pages: 356 | ISBN: 0648937658

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