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THE NEW OLD ME

MY LATE-LIFE REINVENTION

A spirited and moving memoir about how “it’s never too late to try something new.”

An essayist and nonfiction writer’s account of how she was forced to start over after age 60.

In 2012, Maran (A Theory of Small Earthquakes, 2012, etc.) was preparing to leave the Oakland house where she had raised two sons and lived with her now-estranged wife. Facing a future with no money and less time to reinvent herself, she headed to the Los Angeles home of two friends. There, she slept on their couch while starting a new job as a copywriter for a clothing company staffed by stylish 20- and 30-somethings whose “good looks and confidence conjure[d] happy childhoods in interesting neighborhoods.” As her finances improved, Maran realized that she now had to rebuild a social life that living as part of one couple or another for more than 40 years had spared her from doing. A large social and professional network allowed her to quickly begin meeting others, and soon she turned into a “friendship speed dater.” Her life on the upswing, the author eventually moved into a rental cottage only to have the fragile stability she had created upset by divorce and the death of her father. Her LA friends then pushed her into the dating world. Maran reluctantly obliged by going to get her first Brazilian wax and then engaging in a post-marital one-night fling with a younger woman. Shortly afterward, she joined an online singles site and became involved with a beautiful 50-something businesswoman, Helena, who helped her deal with the unexpected loss of her job. The relationship was comfortable but not passionate, and in the end, Maran was forced to admit that she ultimately did not love Helena. By turns poignant and funny, the book not only shows how one feisty woman coped with a “Plan B life” she didn’t want or expect with a little help from her friends. It also celebrates how she transformed uncertainty into a glorious opportunity for continued late-life personal growth.

A spirited and moving memoir about how “it’s never too late to try something new.”

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-57413-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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