Searching for Tina Turner by Jacqueline E. Luckett is a story of reinvention,
transformation and renewal. This is a baby boomer’s book, which I think women of a certain
age will really savor. Although many younger readers might like this book, I personally
don’t think I could have appreciated it at a younger age.
For example, when Tina Turner made her comeback at 43, I was in my thirties. At the time,
I didn’t fully understand the strength of character it took for Tina to chuck everything and
start over at 43. When I was growing up, the age of forty was considered old. But, at the time
of Tina’s comeback, I do recall thinking that she was starting a new trend—that women
were no longer considering themselves old after forty. (Now we see among the baby boomers that
even sixty is no longer considered old.)
The subtext is what made Searching for Tina Turner such a meaningful book for me. I
saw this as a redefinition of what it means to be an older woman, and how things have changed.
The protagonist, Lena, age 54, is an African American woman who lives a life of privilege in
the suburbs of San Francisco. Her husband, Randall, is an executive who travels internationally.
Meanwhile, Lena’s aspirations to become a photographer are put on hold while Randall continues
to work harder, reach higher, all in the name of making his family financially secure.
Unfortunately, as Randall moves up the career ladder, their marriage moves down the scale in
terms of emotional satisfaction, until it implodes and fizzles out. Lena’s role as wife and
mother no longer fulfils her.
On the inside, Lena is dying, and her husband, Randall, cannot understand why she can’t
appreciate all the material things his corporate lifestyle affords their family.
When the bottom falls out, Lena walks off from her family and goes to Paris, armed only with
Tina Turner’s memoir. In the course of "chucking it all," she finds herself, whom she had lost.
As Lena changex, she finds inner peace and self-actualization.
Although we tend to think of midlife crisis as a male thing, women can experience the same
thing. I think baby boomers have always been the generation which has a sense that life should
have meaning and that we shouldn’t settle. Perhaps this accounts for why so many baby boomers
have second careers and, like Tina Turner, have worked beyond retirement age.
I recommend Searching For Tina Turner for any woman who is looking for a good,