Most helpful critical review
170 of 172 people found the following review helpful
I have found this book less than useful
on April 26, 2005
I have owned two books on "places to live" -- this one on retirement and another on general living areas, thus I have a good basis for comparison. This book on retirement is mostly anecdotal and insufficient to make an adequate factual comparison among the various cities and towns. Why did the editor leave out the average cost of living for several of these cities, for example? My other book had numerical ratings for all sorts of critically important categories like weather, access to colleges and universities, health care and hospitals (public and private), public transportation, indoor and outdoor recreation, the arts, state sales taxes, state income taxes, property taxes, housing costs, general cost of living, etc. The editor of this book includes some of this information but it is not consistent and not in any type of graphical or rating form so it is impossible to compare the various cities, which is what we are inclined to do if we are choosing some place to retire. Another caveat: I think every book on retirement should have big bold letters printed on the cover, in red: WARNING!! NEVER COMMIT TO A NEW CITY UNLESS YOU RENT THERE FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS!! Based on just a few vacation visits to our chosen retirement town, plus information from this book, we spent two months renting, found and bought a house and have regretted it ever since. The glowing and gushing tales quoted about city and town life from every corner of the country in this book can be countered by equally dark tales of horror (we have more than a few about Whidbey Island, WA). So do you see why I think those human interest stories that fill the book are truly useless in helping you choose your final destination? I also lived for five years in Ojai, CA, one of the editor's favored towns, and I wouldn't want to be buried there, much less step foot there ever again. What is one woman's hell is another's paradise. A book of dull yet solid statistics would have been much more useful, in my humble opinion. Oh, wait, I have just the book you need, easily ordered from Amazon! Try "Cities Ranked & Rated" by Bert Sperling and Peter Sander, 2004. No meaningless subjective blather from gushing residents, just the facts, ma'am. Try it, you'll like it!