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An Intimate Journey

by Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-316-71263-9
Publisher: Little, Brown

 Yet another feminist offers an up-close and personal examination of trekking into middle age. Pogrebin's (Deborah, Golda, and Me, 1991, etc.) friends groaned when they heard she was writing about aging; how depressing, they thought. Readers may groan as well at the prospect of another paean to growing older. But Pogrebin, now 56, brings some fresh insights to the process, particularly in a discussion of what time means once you're over the hill. Pogrebin places herself in that small cohort born between 1932, when FDR was elected president, and 1945, the end of WW II. She labels this group ``the Roosevelt babies,'' calling them (and herself) ``unself-conscious trailblazers,'' mapping the territory of longevity for the Boomers. ``Time is all there is,'' she says, so don't hoard it or waste it trying to recapture youth. ``Use it or lose it'' is but one piece of T-shirt advice that she passes along, in company with poetry and observations from May Sarton, Simone de Beauvoir, and feminist peers from her early years at Ms. magazine. Often setting herself apart from what she views as the unrelentingly positive feminist party line on aging, she hails the value of nostalgia in a section on memory and praises diet, exercise, and hormone replacement therapy in chapters on the aging body. She also speculates on whether the public discouse on menopause will stigmatize older women as the mysteries of menstruation and PMS once kept young women in their place. In the end, Pogrebin is reconciled to the idea of dying, if not to the fact of death. While there is undeniably much that is thoughtful and useful in this volume, it's often buried in anecdotes about family and friends less interesting to general readers than to the author.