Book Review: A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis

Wendy Sinclair’s life goes from stable to completely overwhelming when she moves from Los Angeles to Houston and marries Roger, her longtime boyfriend. They move in together, but married life is not what she expected at all. In fact, she’s miserable from the start. When Wendy’s friend Paula invites her to Las Vegas for the weekend, Wendy can’t pass up the opportunity to escape her problems, if only for a few days. Roger is less than thrilled that recently unemployed Wendy is going to Sin City since he had arranged an interview for her and was actively encouraging her to get back on her feet. She isn’t interested and opts for a break to have some fun instead. What is supposed to only be a weekend getaway turns into a much longer stay when Wendy refuses to go back to Houston. She winds up getting various jobs in Vegas and the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months. Roger checks in on her by phone and, as expected, they argue every time they talk to each other. No one can really blame Roger, though. He wants his wife to come home, but Wendy is stubborn. She strings Roger along, even though she has no intention of going home to him. New men enter her life while she’s away and at forty five years old, she is faced with the inevitable question. What, or rather who, does she really want? And more importantly, who does she want to be?

A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis is a humorous, lighthearted novel. Anyone who loves Las Vegas or longs to go there will enjoy the detailed descriptions of the city. Wendy is a very confused character who acts immaturely since she can’t seem to make any choices regarding her life, except to escape it. She is adamant about not going back to Houston yet she won’t let Roger go. Her indecisive tendencies may frustrate readers. It is clear that Wendy’s and Roger’s relationship isn’t working, but it takes an awfully long time for them to come to any resolution. The novel takes place over more than two years, leading up to an ending that will not please everyone. A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis falls short in a few areas but overall, it is an entertaining read.   

Irene Woodbury graduated from the University of Houston in 1993. Her writing has appeared in many newspapers, including the Washington Post, London Daily Telegraph, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Toronto Star, and Nevada and The Affluent Traveler magazines. Her first novel, A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis, was inspired by her love of travel writing. One of Irene’s favorite destinations is Las Vegas. In 2006, she came up with the idea for her debut novel and four-and-a-half years and many visits to Vegas later, she completed it. Her husband, Richard, a retired Time Magazine correspondent, edited her novel. They live in Denver. For more information, please visit and connect with Irene on Twitter.