Revisiting the Queensam
Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff’s new release, Queen of Your Own Life: The Grown-Up Woman’s Guide to Claiming Happiness and Getting the Life That You Deserve (Harlequin, March 2010) sends an important message: The Queen has gone mainstream! This in itself is a cause for celebration.
It was five years ago that I reviewed The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife by Donna Henes (Monarch Press, 2005.) At that time, Henes wrote: “I craved, but could not find, an existing prototype of a passionate and empowered female middle age…A new archetype was definitely in the air, but I felt that it had not yet been completely articulated.” The Queen of My Self then proceeded, in its burgeoning, self-published and empowering pages, to serve as a guide for midlife women to facilitate a serious attitude adjustment regarding aging – the crowning glory being, well, a crowning ceremony where mature, realized women literally crown themselves as a symbol of their new authority as architects of their own destiny.
Kinney and Ratzlaff’s work continues on similar themes, also including a crowning ceremony. Henes’ book states the work ahead “…will not be a resort vacation, but a challenging and extraordinarily rewarding journey into the wilds of heretofore unmapped realms.” But Kinney and Razlaff do take the resort vacation approach, with attaining queendom being a perfectly good reason to throw a party – with lots of cake.
The Queen of My Self and Queen of Your Own Life have much in common, aside from the obvious similarities in the titles. Both have inspirational quotes scattered liberally throughout: Kinney and Ratzlaff, in the introduction, implore “If not now – when?” where Henes asked in her introduction, “If not now, honey, when?” But where Kinney and Ratzlaff offer examples throughout their guide where it appears they have suffered from low self esteem for their entire lives (stating numerous childhood examples,) Henes stays true to the midlife course. If you are feeling lousy as you get older, Henes illustrates, it may just be because of menopause. An empty nest. Divorce. Death. You get the idea. “Old age is no place for sissies,” said Bette Davis — and either is middle age.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two books is in its applications. Kinney and Ratzlaff sum it up in the title – the goal is to claim happiness and get the life you deserve. Henes is a bit more far seeing. In Henes’ final chapter, “Empress Energy,” the guide gives pointers on extending queenly influence out into the world. “We wise, mature, accomplished women are called upon to step up to the challenge and ascend the throne of conscious, conscientious leadership.” Henes seems to understand that, innately, all queens rule.
Reviewed by Diane Saarinen