AM I OLD YET? by Leah Komaiko


The Story of Two Women, Generations Apart, Growing Up and Growing Young in a Timeless Friendship
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A moving, enlightening, and humorous memoir of the friendship between two women, aged 44 and 94. Komaiko is divorced and childless, the author of 18 children’s books, who, as a forever-young Dylan fan, fears aging and mortality. She finds that L.A., the “liposuction capital of the universe,” is the wrong place in which to hit middle age. Burnt out and despairing for her lost youth, she decides to look her future in the eye and volunteers to “adopt” an elderly woman in a senior residence, to whom she pays regular visits. She’s matched up with a blind woman in her 90s. But Adele is courageous, full of youthful enthusiasm and intelligence, and has a full “memory bank” that affords her a rich life of recollection: her mother worked with suffragette Susan B. Anthony and helped start the A&P company. But in this warm book about aging and friendship, Adele is most remarkable for reviving the spirits and youth of the woman who thought she would be comforting a lonely person waiting to die. Komaiko’s sense of humor prevents the memoir from warming one’s heart to the point of cardiac arrest, with earthy descriptions of the aged people she meets (she calls one woman “bulldozer in a muumuu—). The author begins by pitying and fearing these “people who had to give up their homes [and] waited to move into their plots,” but she ends up coming often to see her new friend, who serves as inspiration and surrogate grandma. The memoir turns maudlin by the end (“doing for others is what makes life worth it”), but by then, we—re every bit as hooked on Adele as Komaiko. The author rediscovers not only friendship, but romance as well. Komaiko has written a poignant memoir that turns despair into joy.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 1-58238-048-1
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1999


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