This hilarious, all-consuming and wise memoir is both completely not about Benedict Cumberbatch while simultaneously delving into Tabitha’s sudden fantastic, delirious, delicious obsession with him. Tabitha, an Australian Mom of two toddlers, has had the edges of herself completely blurred as motherhood overtakes her. She wonders at the overall ability of Dads to duck out of this all-out obsession, preserving time for play as well as self-identity as kids come along. Amidst this devolution of identity, Tabitha develops an over-the-top love as all things Benedict that consumes her waking imagination. Tabitha starts to realize that her unique celebrity love is shared by thousands of other middle age women, a diverse collective of dreamers known in the press as “Cumberbitches.”
As Tabitha interviews other women sharing this Cumberbatch obsession in an effort to overcome her own embarrassment and shame, she realizes that underlying all of this is the uniquely forgotten imaginative and playful lives of women as we “mature.” Drawing from works of experts in the field of celebrity crushes, women’s development (such as Passages), and as wide ranging as Jenny Offil’s novel Dept. of Speculation and the poetry of Mary Oliver. What emerges is insight both so sublime and brilliant that it literally has you catching your breath.
By the end, you’re giving Tabitha a standing ovation, hooting and hollering, and simply delighting in her University office desk that has been overrun with Cumberbatch photos and paraphernalia. You emerge with a far wiser and deeper understanding of the inner lives of women today, and challenge yourself about what you’re doing about your playful self.
This is a book that literally needs to be read by every woman, and as a start I’m giving it out upon publication to all my women friends as well as my daughter.
YOU GO TABITHA! And thanks for sweeping the rest of us along with you.
Thanks to Putnam and NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy of this book.