Book Review – Between a Rock and a Hot Place by Tracey Jackson

May 5, 2012 at 8:38 am in Books & Entertainment by Lesa Holstine

Between a Rock and a Hot Place: Why Fifty is the New Fifty by Tracey Jackson. Harper. 2011. ISBN 9780061869286 (paperback), 287p.

Tracey Jackson is very much aware that the saying, “Fifty is the new thirty,” is a lie. That’s why her book, Between a Rock and a Hot Place is subtitled, “Why Fifty is the New Fifty.” If you’re a baby boomer afraid to lose your youth, let’s face it. Some of it is already gone.

Jackson is a baby boomer herself, and, as much as she’d like to hold on to her youth, she admits we can’t. She uses humor to poke fun at all of us. Yes, we might not be wearing the same clothes our grandmothers did, so we think their fifty isn’t ours. That doesn’t make us younger. It means we still suffer from aging. Our blood pressure might be higher. We might be on cholesterol medication. Sorry, time is getting away from us. We’re just afraid to face our own mortality, so we do everything we can to face it down.

Jackson addresses menopause, sex drives that aren’t what they used to be, children leaving home, the loss of jobs after the age of fifty, spending money for enjoyment versus having money for retirement. And, she attacks each issue head-on, realistically, but with humor. She’s been there, and, as a writer, she knows how to tell it to us with no punches pulled. It’s a matter of getting on with life without pretending that we still have the bodies and the health we once had.

Here’s the message I liked in Between a Rock and a Hot Place. “This is a very important way to look at yourself as you move forward from fifty on: ‘I do me really well.’ Doing you is all you can do.” She might have been talking about relationships at that point in the book, but face it. The secret to happiness in life is being yourself. “I do me really well.”

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