The Early Birds
Published by: Quercus
Release Date: May 18, 2017
By the closing pages of The Future Homemakers of America Peggy and her friends had reached the silver years. Their nests were empty and life on an air force base was but a distant memory.
Peggy, Betty, Lois, Gayle and Audrey. They came of age in the 1950s when a wife’s job was to look dainty, bake pies and hold the fort. Then the world changed and they had to change with it. Sink or swim. Now, as the century turns and their 80th birthdays loom, they look back on the paths they took and contemplate what may lay along the shorter road ahead.
Who’s the old broad in the lime green sneakers? Who’s serving time in a correctional facility? And who’s about to move two thousand miles to take up the biggest challenge of her life?
Sequels can be treacherous territory. There’s the danger readers will think you’ve run out of new ideas and there’s the risk that you laid your characters so firmly to rest in Book 1 that they defy resurrection. My Future Homemakers though seemed potentially ripe for a continuing story. Now, in my 70th year, I find old age interesting, maddening, sometimes sad and often great fun.
The first hurdle in sequel writing is to re-read the original book. Who on earth wants to sit and read their own stuff, especially when it was written twenty years ago? I live in hope that I’m now a better writer. But we must face our demons so read it I did and I found that Peggy and her friends still had plenty of living to do. Peggy became, amongst other things, a welcome vehicle for me to write about dementia, my husband’s affliction that now shapes every minute of my day. So three cheers for sequels. Or two and a half, at least.