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For Keeps: Women Tell the Truth About Their Bodies, Growing Older, and Acceptance Paperback – November 23, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nora Ephron's bestselling I Feel Bad About My Neck has perhaps opened the door to discussing the failings of the female body and of female aging, and the 27 contributors to this collection deserve gratitude for enlarging the discussion. The essays detail a plethora of possible events associated with aging: aging mothers and mothers-in-law, one's own increasing frailty and final illnesses. There are deaths and divorces after long-lived marriages. Other contributors write of the abrupt arrival in the world of acute or chronic illness. Two very different threads run throughout the essays. One is the degree to which each writer has found a way to retain or regain a sense of power over her life. The other is the power of childhood messages and experiences to resonate for decades. Standouts include PW Reviews director Louisa Ermelino's luminous account of her mother's and husband's final illnesses, and Liza Nelson's wonderful story of her double mastectomy—she's thrilled to be rid of the enormous appendages that had tormented her all her life. (Dec.)
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Review

"Some women become athletes, pushing their bodies beyond what they thought capable, while some watch their bodies crumble and degenerate from a lifetime of pushing. This surprising collection is full of moving takes on aging gracefully in a female body." -- Body + Soul Magazine

Nora Ephron's bestselling I Feel Bad About My Neck has perhaps opened the door to discussing the failings of the female body and of female aging, and the 27 contributors to this collection deserve gratitude for enlarging the discussion. The essays detail a plethora of possible events associated with aging: aging mothers and mothers-in-law, one's own increasing frailty and final illnesses. There are deaths and divorces after long-lived marriages. Other contributors write of the abrupt arrival in the world of acute or chronic illness. Two very different threads run throughout the essays. One is the degree to which each writer has found a way to retain or regain a sense of power over her life. The other is the power of childhood messages and experiences to resonate for decades. Standouts include PW Reviews director Louisa Ermelino's luminous account of her mother's and husband's final illnesses, and Liza Nelson's wonderful story of her double mastectomy--she's thrilled to be rid of the enormous appendages that had tormented her all her life. (Dec.) -- Publishers Weekly, October 15, 2007
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (November 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580052045
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580052047
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,728,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
88%
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See all 8 customer reviews
Each story was unique, tender, and yet brutally honest.
Sprinterlife
For Ever is how long, for better or worse, we keep our bodies.
AKPenny
I read the book twice, which I rarely tak the time to do.
Kathryn D. Lass

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Susan on December 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
For Keeps is not an easy book to read. It is not about pretty women with perfect bodies who find easy acceptance in a beauty-obsessed culture. No. It is an impolite, impertinent, irreverent collection of essays written by twenty-seven much-published and gifted writers who are not afraid to tell the truth about the imperfect bodies they have learned to live in--and learned to love.

These are hard truths. "My Mother's Body Image, My Self" (Sara Nelson), tells us that our obsessions about the size and shape and appearance of our bodies are often taught to us by our mothers--who may have been obsessed with their own bodies. An unhealthy preoccupation with physical image and the desire to use bodies to please men can be passed from mother to daughter.

"Dead Bone" (Aimee Liu) is the story of a young woman who became first an anorexic, then an "exercise zealot" for whom physical suffering was a path to perfection. A series of disabling injuries at least teaches her a necessary lesson. "My body finally, definitively, forced the message over my perverse will: I could no longer afford the fallacy that pain would make me better."

"What I Gave Up" (Ellen Sussman) follows the life of a woman who (pushed by her father) went from being a "killer tennis player" to being a compulsive competitive runner to the practice of yoga--each transition accompanied by the rupture of a spinal disk. Now facing her third spinal fusion, Sussman can say, "What I hope for is this: that I can live in this body without pain; that I can use it as well as I'm able to; and that my mind can accept these changes with the grace of an athlete." It's a prayer that we might all etch on our bathroom mirrors.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer M. Green on January 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I love this book. I've laughed harder than I have in a long time & have cried over how well I relate to the women in this book. It is about truth, and as much as I hate the truth sometimes, I can't deny that the women author's contributing to this book are speaking the truth directly to me. I recommend this book for all women and the men in their lives that wish to better understand them.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn D. Lass on March 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
I thought this would be a fun, light read (the cover is misleading) but it turned out to be one of the most beautiful collections of women's stories I've read in a long time. It's an anthology of various kinds of challenges women have experienced with some aspect of their health, and how they met the challenges. Beautiful writing.

I read the book twice, which I rarely tak the time to do.
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This was a great anthology. Each story was unique, tender, and yet brutally honest. It's ironic that even though we all have one, we tend to carry so much shame about our bodies and end up feeling isolated in them. These compassionate stories, on the other hand, bridge the gap and remind us that the one common denominator we all share regardless of culture, creed, or color is that our human experience here on this planet is defined by our bodies. We all want to be healthy and strong, but we all experience sickness and frailty. Some of us use our bodies to test our physical and spiritual boundaries, perhaps pushing ourselves to the outer limits of athleticism, while others of us loathe our bodies and even neglect or abuse them to escape an unwanted reality. Either way, we all have one, and so long as we're here to talk about it, it's for keeps! At the end of the book, I walked away with a deeper appreciation for my body and the wonderfully absurd human experience it provides me.
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