What do you when you’re told you’ve got terminal cancer at 50? Take up crochet, convert to religion and bow out gracefully? Or ditch your husband of twenty years, abandon your demanding teens, leave your job, desert your bossy, octogenarian mother, cash in your life savings and take your two sisters on a luxury cruise? Courageous or ruthlessly selfish? Answers on a postcard please … preferably from the Caribbean.
Ruby is gregarious, generous, sunny and funny – which is why all her friends, family and colleagues have turned up to celebrate her 50th birthday. But with four glasses of champers under her belt, Ruby’s speech doesn’t go exactly to plan. Instead of the witty and warm words guests are expecting, Ruby takes her moment in the spotlight to reveal what she really thinks of them all. She lays into her famous author husband, revealing his affair with his editor.
Ruby then chides her lazy, twenty-something-year old kids to get a job and move out of home.
She next slates her lecherous boss, revealing how he cooks the books and sanctions gender pay gaps. Ruby then takes a satirical sideswipe at the sanctimonious, kale-juice-swigging school mums who are constantly going on body cleansing retreats, yet cannot survive without botox injections and wine-o’clock. She even outs the pseudo intellectuals from her book group who only watch movie versions of the novels because their reading material is limited to instagram updates. And, saving the best till last, Ruby lambasts her calculatingly cruel mother for spending her life playing her three daughters against each other. It’s a brilliantly funny speech but blisteringly brutal.
As the stunned gathering gawk at Ruby, the birthday girl concludes her seeringly honest, bravura monologue with the throw-away comment that she has terminal cancer. She has cashed out her life and plans on taking her two sisters cruising until she dies.
Only, do they really want to go with her? And, was it her medical results she read?