Modestly sub-titled ""An Extraordinary Option for Middle Years."" We foundered in a great deal of ill-assorted intelligence assembled without any particular respect for cohesion to any central idea let alone any extraordinary option. Unless it might be that now for the ""first time"" people have ""a chance to grow up as you grow older."" Mrs. Simon has a formidable bibliography, but she seems to have just basted together a lot of loose psycho-sociological facts (in one sentence alone she refers to Kinsey, Sophocles and the Princess Metternich) about what she amorphously calls Trends--a little about the youth cult and the stigmatizing and stereotyping of the old; about calendar age (meaningless) and programmed obsolescence/idleness (retirement); about the new ""subculture"" of those who are past middle age: in Reality she does deal more specifically with physical and mental aging, with the family and continuing relationships with the children; but by the time she gets to Options she's again as slippery as seaweed--over and above the hopeful injunction to make the ""next years matter."" Of course one of the assumptions of age is leisure, which implies that you may find time to read a book like this which gives the illusion of a greater sophistication of insight than it really has.