SIXTY by Ian Brown


A Diary of My Sixty-First Year: The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning?
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A journalist’s diary of age 60.

In 2014, Brown (The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son, 2011, etc.) arrived at one of the crossroads of life that even the most self-assured among us cannot help but eye warily. No longer a young man, nor even middle-aged, but on the cusp of “heading into the last turn, or for the back nine, or toward the clubhouse (someone should make a list of all the euphemisms we employ to denote the onset of aging),” the author looked back on a resolution he made at 50 to take note of the details around him and the processes unfolding within him. For 10 years, that resolution got lost in the daily shuffle of obligations. As 60 approached, he found a dearth of levelheaded explorations of that age. Displeased with the cheerleading of seniorhood as just another "new and ever-younger future,” an assessment that “mostly made me want to run shrieking from the room,” Brown found new motivation to try his hand at it. The subjects that find their ways into these pages aren't surprising: the author mulls over his own flagging ambitions as a writer, wondering where the drive to swing for the fences went and why he didn't harness it when it was active. He considers the writing of others—not just about aging, but also the importance of being present in one’s current environment. Conversations with lifelong friends often turned into the airing of the newest physical grievances. Young editors at the newspaper told him to develop his Twitter presence and build his list of followers on YouTube. His reactions reflect the knowledge of someone who understands technology well enough to acknowledge the shifting paradigms while also dismissing much of it as ridiculous. If that sounds cantankerous, the author is not.

Brown's humor is pointed inward as often as outward, and he neither glosses over nor languishes on the fact that he has fewer years ahead of him than behind.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-61519-350-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: The Experiment
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2016


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