A few years ago, a certain calendar caused a worldwide stir with its tasteful nude photos of the middle-aged women of the Rylstone Women's Institute in northern England. This book, already published in the U.K. and now a feature film there, chronicles the genesis, creation and subsequent fame of the 'calendar girls,' told by Miss October. Stewart's recounting carries a journal-like quality, so readers may either love or hate the abundance of minutiae as they are taken through the decision of the Women's Institute, following the death of a member's husband, to create the calendar and donate the proceeds to cancer research. These details, however, reveal that life in a tiny English town can be as multidimensional and hip as life in a big American city: Stewart teaches yoga and enjoys shiatsu, meditation and tarot. She humorously describes the recruitment of the calendar girls (the youngest was 45), the photo shoots ('breathing in and trying to look unwrinkled'), getting the blessing of the national Women's Institute, and how the ladies handled the subsequent, unexpected fame. The only drama concerns the author's belief throughout that her marriage was deteriorating and the strain of their increasing renown ('before the calendar, I could never understand why groups like the Beatles or the Spice Girls split up'). Although the women experience a tiny bit of shock due to their sudden celebrity, their relationships are ultimately what's important, as evidenced by the author's reconciliation with her husband. In the end, this is more than a 'making of' story: it's a reminder of the beauty and power of women's friendships. 21 b&w photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Szerző - Tricia Stewart