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Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life Paperback – January 10, 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

At last, this is your story. You'll recognize yourself, your friends, and your loves. You'll see how to use each life crisis as an opportunity for creative change -- to grow to your full potential. Gail Sheehy's brilliant road map of adult life shows the inevitable personality and sexual changes we go through in our 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond. The Trying 20s -- The safety of home left behind, we begin trying on life's uniforms and possible partners in search of the perfect fit. The Catch 30s -- illusions shaken, it's time to make, break, or deepen life commitments. The Forlorn 40s -- Dangerous years when the dreams of youth demand reassessment, men and women switch characteristics, sexual panic is common, but the greatest opportunity for self-discovery awaits. The Refreshed (or Resigned) 50s -- Best of life for those who let go old roles and find a renewal of purpose.

"From the Paperback edition.

About the Author

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 30th Anniversary ed. edition (January 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034547922X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345479228
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Passages" is a classic book about confronting the changes of middle age, and the author has a no-nonsense style that is really refreshing. It was very helpful to hear how many people who reach middle age (whenever that is) have many of the same confusing and upsetting feelings, how we're not nuts, and how there IS light at the end of the tunnel. However, having said that, this book seemed quite dated to me. It was written in the 1970s when it was still the norm for women to marry in their early 20's without any career training, a college education, or any experience with independent living. The crises that these women confronted in middle age are a bit different than modern women face, since many modern women have achieved quite a bit of independence before establishing a relationship with a partner, or choosing to remain single. Also, I found the discussion of men's lives reflected the 1970's social norms as well, i.e. that most men followed the traditional business-career route, and were pretty sexist in their attitudes towards their wives. This social bias is reflected in her discussion of difficulties that couples face during various stages of their lives. Some of the psychological research the author referred to is quite out of date as well. Still, I think the author presented some great insights about the feelings that many middle aged people experience, and despite the somewhat dated psychological and social perspectives, this book is really worth reading, particularly if you just skim over the outdated stuff. One thing that really struck me is how much our modern view of when "middle age" occurs differs from what the author presented in her book. She described people beginning to confront "middle age" around age 35.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading Passages by Gail Sheehy was a turning point in my life. I especially remember "The most important words in midlife are--Let Go. Let it happen to you. Let it happen to your partner. Let the feelings. Let the changes." "You can't take everything with you when you leave on the midlife journey." "You are moving out of roles and into the self." in Part Six "Deadline Decade" Chapter 17 "Riding Out the Downside". Knowing this, I felt a great sense of relief knowing that the only person I could change is myself. From that point on I was quietly inspired to look for more information that I could read or hear (tapes) that would help me pull myself together. I treated my family more lovingly and I went back to college to finish my degree. Everyone would benefit from reading this inspiring classic. Thank you Gail Sheehy for your wonderful insight.
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Format: Paperback
This book was purchased for my 28-year-old daughter. She and I were visiting and discussing "life" issues and I got out my copy of Passages, copyright 1977, that I had purchased many years ago at a used book store when she was just a toddler. She was so surprised at how many of the marked passages in my book that she identified with that she knew she had to have a copy of her own. A book that identifies life situations across the generations is a book well worth having. I'm so glad you are still making it available to a new generation. Some things never change ....
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I had read Passages 20 years ago, then donated it to a library. From then on, I regretted not having it when I talked with friends about the transitions in adult life. The last time I had that regret, I happily remembered that I could order used books easily on Amazon, so I got two copies. One is to lend and one is to keep.
What is so special about this book is that it picks up where other books end. There are thousands of books about infants, young children and teens. We fully understand that growth is a process and that, while each person is unique, there are commonalities in development. However, once we are adults, we seem to think we are static.
Passages describes the normal growth throughout life. It is comforting to see, for example, that most people have to seriously reassess their goals in their 40's.
This book is especially encouraging for parents of adult chidren. It affirms that we are changing our own priorities and it helps us to see how our needs and the ever changing needs of our offspring can complement one another. Maybe most importantly, we are reminded that their attention to their own careers and children right when we crave more intimacy with them is normal and healthy.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not kidding, and it's been a standing joke in the family that I've taken this book with me on dozens of vacations and never finished it. I don't know why it's considered such a classic of women's wisdom, except that when it was written, nothing like it existed. I found some interesting insights, but none of the profound, earth-shaking rattles to my consciousness that I was led to expect. It is an interesting and worthwhile book for anyone experiencing major changes in life that can't be explained by a troubled marriage, kids who are driving them crazy, or a job that's evaporating with age or lack of enthusiasm. Try it, but don't expect to be bowled over.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was thrilled to find a copy of this book. I came into ownership of a copy years ago when I was younger and have remembered many the lessons which have helped me over these many years. I have now shared this book with 3 people whom also agree that it is "right on point", at least for our age group. Yeah! The price could not be beat and the seller delivered just as promised. Happy customer.
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