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Suddenly Sixty And Other Shocks Of Later Life Hardcover – October 4, 2000

4.1 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

From the bestselling author of Forever Fifty comes a new collection of poems that tickle, console, and offer the pleasure of instant recognition -- the perfect book for any woman anywhere in the vicinity of sixty.

Judith Viorst's "decade" books of verse -- including It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty, How Did I Get to Be Forty, and Forever Fifty -- have delighted millions of readers worldwide who relish her wit, warmth, and wisdom. Now here she is with Suddenly Sixty, a funny and touching book that speaks directly to the sixty-ish woman, inviting her to laugh about, sigh over, and come to hopeful terms with the complex issues of this decade of life.

Among the poems in this charmingly illustrated collection are those exploring the joys -- and strains -- of children and grandchildren, and the intimacy of old friends who've "known each other so long/We knew each other back when we were virgins". There are poems that tip their hat to mortality, wrestle with a husband's retirement -- "He's coming with me when I shop at the supermarket/So I won't have to shop alone. I like alone". -- and acknowledge the fact that at this stage of life we'd "give up a night of wild rapture with Denzel Washington for a nice report on my next bone density test". Offering plenty of laughs, a few tears, and cover-to-cover truths, these are poems for everyone who would "rather say never say die than enough is enough". Every woman who has reached this decade will -- rueful and smiling -- find herself in the pages of this book.

About the Author

Judith Viorst was born and brought up in New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers University, moved to Greenwich Village, and has lived in Washington, DC, since 1960, when she married Milton Viorst, a political writer. They have three sons and seven grandchildren. A 1981 graduate of the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, Viorst writes in many different areas: science books; children’s picture books—including the beloved Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which was made into a box-office favorite movie of the same name; adult fiction and nonfiction; poetry for children and adults; and musicals.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (October 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068486763X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684867632
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Judith Viorst has written many books for children, including the classics Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and its sequels, and If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Stories. She is also the author of Just in Case, illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal. She lives with her husband, Milton, in Washington D.C.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ms. Viorst has become more outspoken in these poems than in her earlier "decade" works. I think you'll like the change. "It still will be impossible to persuade my husband when lost to stop the goddamn car, and ask for directions." Concerning her husband's retirement, "And guess who's the hobby he chose?" In talking about her children and grandchildren, she exults that her grandchild prefers her for cuddling to her son. You'll never quite think about life the same way after you read "1963 -- Niagara, 1999 -- Viagra."
On the other hand, she's hanging in there as a woman. "I've painted blue nail polish on my toes . . . ." "I will still buy bikini underwear." "I don't intend to stop showing a little cleavage." Yet, ". . . it's hard to be frisky over sixty." "L's for libido -- what's happened to sex?"
There are also the inevitable losses. "How am I going to walk in this world without talking to my friend about eyeliner and the meaning of the universe?" She has some very strong feelings about the bad things that should happen to the man who leaves his wife of 42 years for a younger woman.
One of the best sequences comes in a series of poems on the subject of "A Brief History of Marriage" that begins with "a life lived -- at least for a while -- in paradise." In "To Be Continued" we learn that ". . . sometimes we still get a glimpse of paradise."
My favorite poem on aging was "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep." The poem is a long list of all the things that can and usually do disturb slumber. If none of these occur, she says, "I might -- I just actually might -- do a little sleeping.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're 60 or over.....you'll be able to relate to practically every poem in this book. A great birthday present for your friends celebrating any of the "60" birthdays.
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Format: Hardcover
Judith Viorst deals with aging gracefully in her truth-giving poems about Suddenly Sixty and Other Shocks of Later Life. Being of a certain age in American society brings a certain angst tempered by the wisdom of experience-if we are lucky and thoughtful. Almost every poem elicits laughter as she ruminates on a variety of topics, including men's inability to ask for directions, the difficulty in apologizing, the family vacation, retirement, or the revenge for the woman dumped.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
She's done it again! Anyone 60+ will recognize herself in Judith's spectacular verses. To get the full flavor of these poems, you have to read them out loud with all the proper inflections. I never laughed so hard or cried so much over a book as I did with this one. She hits the nail on the head when she describes life after 60!!
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Format: Hardcover
This slim volume of prosaic poems (they are barely poems, more like very graceful essays) on encroaching senior-hood is really enjoyable. And comfortable, and comforting to read, much in the same way the classic "Golden Girls" TV show is, in a "you're not alone in this aging business, all us women are going through the same things!" way. I especially loved the "New Alphabet," which includes things like "O is for osteo, P's for porosis," and the poem about the two lovers who can't take their eyes off each other -- and it turns out the "man" is her four-year-old grandson. Thanks to Judith for reaching through the LA-nip/tuck-gym hardbody BS in this world, and telling it like it is.
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Format: Hardcover
I just ordered this book and am sorry I did. Where is the Judith Viorst of the 70's, when my children were young and loved her work? I expected this to be a light-hearted and original look at being "the age we are now," but instead, I found a woman sour -- especially with marriage -- and to a degree with life and grown children. I would not recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Was a birthday gift for a friend turning sixty. Judith Viorst came through again as she always has with all the children's books I've read to my class. She has a great sense of humor! This gift will, hopefully, be reread and enjoyed over and over.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Judith Viorst has spot-on humor in her other age related books and I was especially looking forward to this one as I am facing, not too boldly, my 60th birthday this year. I was a bit disappointed. Not her usual witty style and just not as interesting a read as her other books.
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