Summary and book reviews of Suddenly Sixty by Judith Viorst

Suddenly Sixty

And Other Shocks of Later Life

By Judith Viorst

Suddenly Sixty
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  • Hardcover: Sep 2000,
    80 pages.

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From the bestselling author of Forever Fifty comes a new collection of poems that tickle, console, and offer the pleasure of instant recognition -- the perfect book for any woman anywhere in the vicinity of sixty.

Judith Viorst's "decade" books of verse -- including It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty, How Did I Get to Be Forty, and Forever Fifty -- have delighted millions of readers worldwide who relish her wit, warmth, and wisdom. Now here she is with Suddenly Sixty, a funny and touching book that speaks directly to the sixty-ish woman, inviting her to laugh about, sigh over, and come to hopeful terms with the complex issues of this decade of life.

Among the poems in this charmingly illustrated collection are those exploring the joys -- and strains -- of children and grandchildren, and the intimacy of old friends who've "known each other so long/We knew each other back when we were virgins." There are poems that tip their hat to mortality, wrestle with a husband's retirement -- "He's coming with me when I shop at the supermarket/So I won't have to shop alone. I like alone." -- and acknowledge the fact that at this stage of life we'd "give up a night of wild rapture with Denzel Washington for a nice report on my next bone density test." Offering plenty of laughs, a few tears, and cover-to-cover truths, these are poems for everyone who would "rather say never say die than enough is enough." Every woman who has reached this decade will -- rueful and smiling -- find herself in the pages of this book.

Excerpt
Suddenly Sixty

It's Harder to Be Frisky Over Sixty

Inside my shoes and my panty hose
I've painted blue nail polish on my toes,
A skirmish in the war that I wage
Against the constraints of my current age.
Despite the advent of Medicare,
I will still buy bikini underwear
And scorn the notion that seniorhood
Means it's too late to be up to no good.

I would if I could.

Don't give me extra time to walk down the jetway.
And please don't get up and give me your seat on the bus.
I'd rather be engagée than Emeritus,
Though it's harder to be frisky over sixty.

I'm not prepared to sign up for Elderhostel.
Retirement communities? Save your brochures.
I'll keep right on trucking as long as my strength endures,
Though it's harder to be frisky over sixty.

I'm standing firm against the Early Bird Special.
I'm out on the dance floor strutting what's left of my stuff.
I'd rather say never say die than enough is enough,
Though it's harder to be frisky over sixty.

I ...

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