The bestselling author who offered a psychological exploration of teenage girls in Reviving Ophelia returns with an examination of women and the challenges they face transitioning from middle to old age.
Pipher contends that unless women make the effort to grow, they will be left with bitterness ... Pipher shares examples from many lives, including her own, but focuses in particular on four women who illustrate these important life lessons. This positive, affirming book will inspire and guide women facing these challenges.
Pipher says hers is not a 'how to' book, but a 'how to think' book, which is a promising approach. Unfortunately, however, too many of her sentences sound like certainties or dictums ... Others deflate into platitudes ... And while Pipher’s habit of using 'we' proffers inclusion, it’s also assumptive—clumping together all women’s responses to aging and illness without regard to differences in temperament or economic realities. While Pipher and women she knows can afford trips to New Mexico’s Ghost Ranch and camping adventures in the Rockies, millions of others can’t afford a taxi ride to the doctor’s office ... [Pipher's] values are commendable: love of family and friends; appreciation of nature; being true to herself; an absence of vanity. But her language is not adequate to her cause ... More troublesome is her overuse of words such as 'bliss,' 'transcendence' and 'awe.' This misty trinity of New Age exhortations—besides being hackneyed—does a disservice to women who don’t wish to or can’t attain them ... I don’t deny the value of optimism. But too often Pipher’s suggestions misfire, especially ones concerning the healing uses of literature ... Some readers will treasure the book. All readers will admire her unadorned but wise summation that answered prayers are 'a surcease of worry' ... But reading about all the questing, journeying, flourishing, rowing and growing can be exhausting.
Pipher's skill of listening to clients and parsing meaning is evident in this volume filled with stories of women in the throes of change ... hers is not a one-solution-fits-all, as she urges readers to make a difference and take it easy, to know boundaries and offer wisdom, to understand what to accept and what demands our flexibility ... Pipher's tribute to older women everywhere—those skilled, knowledgable, and very wise—is simple: get involved, sit back, enjoy your life, be grateful, cherish every day. You've earned your happiness.