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There Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2019
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The pre chapter quips on how you know you're in your 40s are clever and cute and many are true - but some just screamed materialistic vanity to me. Telling men to "invest in hand stitched brogues"... seriously? Yes, every grown man should have great quality shoes, but that's not an existential aging lesson.
My lessons from my 40s? Accept joy anywhere you find it.
Kick off your shoes and play on the lawn with a puppy.
Welcome new friends in your circle with an open mind and full cappuccino for everyone.
Answer that 2am phone call with grace and calm - bad news is never made better with panic.
Never waste another minute listening to music you dislike or reading bad books.
Mainly, I was appalled.
The author seems to think it's perfectly normal to be traumatized at turning 40. Forty's not that old, if you're taking care of yourself. At the end of each chapter, she has a section, "You know you're forty-something when..." Many of those statements seemed to apply more to someone who at least sixty rather than forty.
Some were just ridiculous -- such as starting to enjoy Thanksgiving despite its terrible origins. I've rarely enjoyed Thanksgiving at any age and go out of my way to avoid it. Most were just silly.
What really bothered me about this book is that age is one of the least predictive variables -- demographic or otherwise -- when you're trying to generalize about groups of people. In my gym we have 70-somethings who are bouncing around in zumba class, keeping up with the 30-somethings. And we have people in the same age group who attend classes designed for "seniors" and feel challenged. We also have some younger people who like the "senior" classes because they enjoy the exercises (and sometimes just choose heavier weights). I have one friend who's 35 going on 50 and another who's 35 going on 26.
Another problem with memoir type books is, it's hard to avoid judging the person who's doing the writing. Druckerman's failed 40th birthday party is less about turning 40 and having an "aspirational" party than about inviting people you barely know. Instead of inviting the "middle class professionals" and stay-at-home moms she's been hanging out with, she invites "a handful of writers and intellectuals who I know a little bit." Why would these people want to attend a birthday party for someone they barely know? They'd be more likely to come to another type of event. And most of us go to birthday parties only if we know the party girl (or boy) pretty well. Most of us learned this lesson in junior high.
The failed birthday party, along with the threesome episode, felt a little awkward to read. It's like TMI. Some things should be saved for therapy sessions. I have a feeling this author will look back on this book 10-20 years from now and be very, very embarrassed.
It gave me some great perspectives, and it was very entertaining. Makes you think, makes you laugh, makes you realize that life is for living.
Top international reviews
I've not read any other of her books so I'm not familiar with her style of writing..but I didn't enjoy the experience.
A few laugh out loud moments too.
I would happily recommend to friends (like me) who are just entering their forties.