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Out of Time
on 2 August 2014
Old age is regarded by many as something which happens to other people. We try and defy it by means of cosmetic surgery, dressing in the clothes we wore when young or in the latest fashions aimed at people in their twenties. Once they are over fifty many people report that they are invisible to most others and disregarded. The world seems to be organised round the young and the old and infirm are regarded as an unnacceptable drain on everyone's resources.
But are there other ways of looking at old age? Having reached my seventh decade and starting to think that maybe I ought to investigate the subject, I find that I don't try and avoid my age. I'm a glass half full person and I look for the advantages and many of the writers quoted in this fascinating study and thought provoking study look for the advantages too. I have had many positive examples of old age from close relatives in my life so I tend to think of it in a different way. I live in an area where there are a high proportion of retired people and I am constantly presented with examples of people in their sixties, seventies or eighties getting around under their own steam and enjoying life apparently to the full.
The author writes well and quotes many optimistic views of aspects of old age as well as many less optimistic views. Some even go so far as to say that anyone who can see good things about ageing much be morons or at the very least seriously deluded. This is a life affriming - and age affirming - book and it will cause anyone approaching their more mature years to examine their own hopes, views and fears of and for their own future. However it doesn't seek to gloss over the disadvantages and of course there are disadvantages to every age.
There are notes to accompany the text and I'm sure many readers will find themselves launched on a journey of exploration into the subject of ageing and old age in literature, art, politics, sociology and psychology. If you want to find out how our leading writers, philosophers and celebrities have looked at old age - both good and bad - then read this book. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.