WOMEN COMING OF AGE by Jane with Mignon McCarthy Fonda
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In her typical friendly, assured fashion, Fonda tackles well-being for women in ""midlife."" The star of celebrity exercisers has a sound understanding of the body's operations; she accepts her own and others' foibles, and offers cheerleading encouragement--other reasons for her popularity. ""At this writing I am forty-six and the lines on my face show up on film despite the skillful lighting of even the cleverest cinematographer."" Along with physical changes, Fonda notices definite changes in attitude: ""There must be no 'if onlys' about the things that really matter. . . I must begin now to frame a philosophy that will encompass the latter part of my life."" Older women may dispute Fonda's notion that hers is the first generation to face such awesome tasks (surely each age's women have had their own); but her contemporaries will mostly welcome this thoughtful company. After these musings on the past (in which her father's death figures prominently) and on what lies ahead, Fonda moves on to specific advice--with running comments on her personal approach and regimen. First comes the physical process of aging, where appearance gets equal time with more essential health issues; then menopause gets special attention. (Fonda argues for better research into the hormone therapy question--she neither endorses nor condemns estrogen replacement.) Her ""Program for Midlife Well-Being"" provides basic, reliable nutrition advice--followed by a well-designed exercise regimen, gentler than the other Fonda workouts, that allows for neophytes easing into a more active lifestyle. Fonda's final word is a proposal for ""Planned Patienthood"": she recommends building a relationship with a primary-care physician, keeping written health records, and being alert for the commonest health problems of middle life (for instance, breast cancer) to decrease the likelihood of distressing surprises. Knowledgeable, sensible, and personable.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1984
Publisher: Simon & Schuster