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Life Arts    H4'ed 4/22/10

Life After Fifty? Listen Up Ladies!

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Reviews "In The Fullness of Time: 32 Women on Life After Fifty." Edited by Emily W. Upham and Linda Gravenson. ATRIA paperback.

I have to admit, this is not my usual book. Generally I'm more comfortable with Sy Hersh or Jane Mayer or Tom Ricks or a history of the Supreme Court.

But this little volume turned up on my living room coffee table and I was drawn to it not by its title which may be the least descriptive title in the history of book publishing -- but by its subtitle: 32 Women on Life After Fifty.

This is a book about what each of these people has lost and how each has adjusted her life to go on living. I found it a book that's often amusing, always inspiring, and definitely worth reading.

And who are the authors? They are 32 extremely gifted American writers and artists. And they share the further common identity: Baby Boomers. As Emily Upham writes in her foreword, "the baby boomers had arrived at the second half of life"this half would be laden with loss."

She goes on to describe this cohort as "the mapless generation." We "came of age at a fleeting moment in history when all traditional expectations were tossed aside and torn up like confetti. Our womanhood was forged at a time when birth control was easy, abortion was easy, pursuing a career was easy, when there were no rules, no boundaries, no directions other than our own inner ones"As we age and begin to suffer the losses common to all women, our landscape is a very different from that of the women who came before and after us."

The essays in this book were written for this book; there's no boilerplate here. The authors range in age from fifty-five to a hundred and one. They are all "immersed in, or have emerged from, maelstroms of change."

But this book is not only about the more predictable kinds of losses that face us as we age, for example, the loss of spouses and lifelong friends. Among my favorites:

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WILLIAM FISHER Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)
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