Women of a Cer­tain Age

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews - AIMEE JODOIN

Jodie Mof­fat, Maria Scoda, Su­san Laura Sul­li­van (Ed­i­tors) Fre­man­tle Press (MARCH) Soft­cover $14.95 (176pp) 978-1-925591-14-9

In this in­spir­ing col­lec­tion of es­says, fif­teen Aus­tralian women from var­i­ous back­grounds come to­gether to share their ex­pe­ri­ences of grow­ing older in a world that treats ag­ing women as in­vis­i­ble. Women of a Cer­tain Age cel­e­brates the process of ag­ing, and con­firms the power of fully em­braced wom­an­hood.

Each es­say is mov­ing in its own way. From a woman who grew up with cys­tic fi­bro­sis just as great med­i­cal ad­vances were be­ing made to a Pak­istani im­mi­grant turned Aus­tralian politi­cian deal­ing with racism, sex­ism, and re­li­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion, there is no woman here whose story does not pro­vide an en­light­en­ing per­spec­tive.

There are “a mul­ti­tude of ways to be nor­mal,” writes Su­san Laura Sul­li­van, who has never mar­ried or had chil­dren but has trav­eled the world and found un­end­ing joy. “I have learnt that to be hu­man is to be al­ways in a state of flux,” says Brigid Lowry, “and that if I can live as change, as grace, my heart will be hap­pier.” Lowry’s es­say takes a more philo­soph­i­cal bent, while oth­ers in the col­lec­tion re­late more spe­cific life oc­cur­rences. All are suc­cess­ful in their af­fir­ma­tions.

Be they about sex­u­al­ity in your six­ties, par­tic­i­pat­ing in po­lit­i­cal protests along­side young peo­ple, or re­con­nect­ing with old friends from child­hood, ev­ery one of the fif­teen pieces is elo­quent, mean­ing­ful, and ed­u­ca­tional. Not only is the con­tent pow­er­ful, but the writ­ing is as well. No mat­ter their back­ground, each woman knows how to best tell her story, with de­tails that run the gamut from heart­break­ing to ex­hil­a­rat­ing, and move­ment from the past to the present that re­veals per­spec­tives of life that tran­scend ide­ol­ogy.

Women (and men) of all ages will find that these es­says en­cap­su­late the spirit of the hu­man con­di­tion, both in good times and in bad, through the eyes of wise women who all have some­thing bril­liant to express.

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