Most helpful positive review
Sixtyish and Sassy!
on October 1, 2000
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."
There's still a wonderful optimism about how good things could be. In "If Only," she contemplates reconstructing the world. "If only shopping at Saks counted as exercise."
The poems are grouped in five sections: Suddenly Sixty, A Brief History of Marriage, More on Marriage, The Children and Grandchildren, and Other Shocks.
The witty poems are wonderfully illustrated with red and black drawings by Laurie Rosenwell.
Whatever your age, ask yourself which attributes of youth you would like to retain and which qualities of greater age you would like to add. In this way, you can create a wonderful combination that will serve you better than simply fulfilling the expectations of society about "acting your age." Enjoy your age!