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New Passages Paperback – May 28, 1996

3.8 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The author's previous blockbuster, Passages (LJ 5/15/76), introduced us all to the term "midlife crisis." In this sequel, Sheehy takes us beyond the midlife crisis to examine later life stages, with a short update on young adulthood in the 1990s. In a few ways, this is a better book than its predecessor. Sheehy pays closer attention to the influence of history on the life course of individuals. She also addresses the main criticism that social scientists have made of her work?that large-scale studies have shown no evidence that most people go through the life stages that she describes?by explaining that people should go through these "passages" and that everyone who doesn't is "walking dead." These improvements aside, her prose still sounds like that of a second-rate astrologer, her advice is often contradictory, and her adulation of famous personalities verges on embarrassing. Nevertheless, this is a "critic-proof" book?if you haven't already done so, order multiple copies to satisfy reader demand.
-?Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, Wash.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Sheehy's Passages (1976), in which she counseled thirtysomethings about the onset of midlife, went straight to the top of most best-seller lists, and her last book, The Silent Passage (1992), in which she schlepped women through menopause, did almost as well, despite the fact that females had been navigating the change of life for a millennium or so without Sheehy's help. Rapidly running out of passages, Sheehy now takes the obvious next step: edging her loyal readers, now entrenched in midlife, to the precipice and helping them face their mortality. Arguing that middle life is the "most unrevealed portion of adult life" (not once the Boomers dig in), Sheehy is here to tell you that the years from 45 to 65 are "not the stagnant, depressing downward slide we have always assumed they would be." Although she intends this book to be a "gift" to her anxious readers, it mostly fails. Before hearing about middle age's upside, we must wend our way through seemingly endless pages about women losing their spouses, men losing their jobs (to say nothing of their hair), and both men and women contracting enough diseases to make even the hardiest souls hurry in for a checkup. There is some good news. Women who make it to 65 can expect to live to 85, and if they've survived divorce or widowhood in midlife, they come to enjoy their own independence. Still, the overriding sense of this book, whether Sheehy admits it or not, is that everybody gets hit, everybody gets hurt. You don't need passage counseling to know that, and if you don't have the inner strength to endure, you might not even get to enjoy those upbeat nuggets Sheehy has gleaned from her surveys. Expect the usual demand; for whatever reason, this passage gambit sells Ilene Cooper --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (May 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345404459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345404459
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Sheehy offers an interesting categorization of life stages in the context of American life as she has known it and lived it. She uses excerpts from the hundreds of interviews she conducted throughout the United States while preparing this book to prove her theory. Her stages have catchy labels: Tryout Twenties, Turbulent Thirties, Flourishing Forties, Flaming Fifties, Serene Sixties. Sheehy's attempt to make meaning of the mature years is most likely to become an artifact of its era, unable to cross cultures or time. Her passages depend too heavily on life as it is being lived in the 1990s in the United States of America. With the work of Erikson and Jung on developmental aging already on the book shelf and thoughtful contributions by such as Friedan, Schacter-Shalomi and Miller, and others, Sheehy's contribution is disappointing.
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Format: Paperback
"New Passages" gave me added enthusiasm as well as an explanation for what I, a woman at age 50, am feeling and experiencing. How wonderful that I am metamorphosing into a "second adulthood!" That the last few years of culling out what I don't want to do are leading towards a powerful purpose: living the rest of my life with ever-greater meaning and enjoyment. As with "The Silent Passage," which has given so many men and women a healthier perspective of menopause, "New Passages" has helped define a brighter and more exciting future for all of us who are growing into our 50'and beyond. Even my 86 year old mother understands better where she has been in her "2nd adulthood," enabling her to define the significance of her continuing life....to just live in integrity and serve as an example for all those around her. Sheehy quoted research which shows that our genetic heritage profoundly affects us until 60-65....but, after that, what we think and beleve is what most profoundly affects how well we live. As in golf, "the game" is controlled by the 6" between our ears....
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Format: Paperback
Conceptually excellent, but a dismally dreary read.
Ever been at a cocktail party where you meet someone who tells an interesting story, but takes half an hour to do it, because of all the needless peripheral information. Sheehy personified. She fails to hold my attention with tediously drawn-out examples which lack pith and focus. An good editor would halve the length and double the value. The content is not bad, it just takes so damn long to get to the point.
Very Ameri-centric.
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By A Customer on August 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
I found Sheehy's second "Passages" book almost as good as the first. As an aging baby boomer, the issues of recharting my life direction at middle age has been daunting to say the least. Second Passages provided the structure for this process. I also suggest "The Second Journey" by T. Athey as another good book - more focus on the issues of the Baby Boomer generation.
Platonix
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By A Customer on January 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Half way reading this book, and I had to give it a thumbs up already. Sheehy's analysis and narrative is hard hitting and brilliant. Your very life passage is written out in this book. Virtually everyone will identify with at least one of her narratives/passages. A must read for anyone interested in the philosophical aspects of LIFE!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting book about how our view/focus changes through each decade of our adult lives and what we have to look forward to. You might even learn what happy adults say they get the most joy from. Wouldn't that be useful information?
I loved it but it is a long read, so buckle down!
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Format: Paperback
The most interesting section of this book for me was right at the beginning where she describes the "endangered generation," those born from 1966-1980. While, I don't usually like to be called endangered, I could completely relate to the description of the troubles our generation is going through- how we have it worse off financially than our parents did in their twenties, and how that explains why we are floating in this in-between stage. This is happening just at the developmental stage in our lives when we'd feel a lot better if we had more financial freedom and didn't have to ask our parents for help. The stresses of dating, not being able to afford more than a cheap apartment (or worse- having to move back in with our parents), and being educated but in a competitive job market, take their toll. At this age, our parents were already married, owned their own home, and had a stable job. So things have changed a lot, and it helps to know that! It frees you to accept society as it is today and make the most of it. She ends the section with a positive prediction that our generation, expecting the least out of life after our disappointing start at adulthood, will end up very successful and appreciating what we have more than other generations. Sheehy is very insightful.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As readable as the original passages and helped me get across a few stumbling blocks in my own life. It helps to know the confusion we might be feeling is normal :) A must have for anyone wanting to make the most of each decade.
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