Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity and Anything Else that Really Matters

Anne Kreamer

Anne Kreamer considered herself a youthful 49 until a photo of herself with her teenage daughter stopped her in her tracks. In one unguarded moment she saw herself for what she really was — a middle-aged woman with her hair dyed much too harshly. In that one moment Kreamer realized that she wasn't fooling anyone about her age and decided it was time to get real and embrace a more authentic life. She set out for herself a program to let her hair become its true color, and along the way discovered her true self.
Going Gray is Kreamer's exploration of that experience, and a frank, warm and funny investigation of aging as a female obsession. Through interviews, field experiments, and her own everywoman's chronicle, Kreamer probes the issues behind two of the biggest fears aging women face: Can I be sexually attractive as a gray-haired, middle-aged woman? and Will I be discriminated against in the work world? Her answers will surprise you.
In searching for the balance between attractiveness and authenticity, Kreamer's journey of middle-aging illuminates in a friendly, useful, and entertaining way the politics and personal costs of this generation's definition of "aging gracefully.

My Take:

While this book is obviously geared toward women that are starting to go gray and feeling older, I find that even though I am not included in the target demographic, I still enjoyed this book.  She had some pretty funny lines, one in particular was as follows, "I discovered books by the bagful on different ways I could maintain a youthful appearance, looking forty-ish until I died (which made me imagine how the "ish" would become a "yeesh" around seventy)"  Anne Kreamer is definitely a very clever writer, and she was able to reach outside her target audience.  I got thinking about how I will handle going gray, etc.  She also conducted several experiments, such as setting up a account as both a gray haired woman, and a brunette, to see what kind of responses she got.  Her experiments were very funny, and the results were a bit surprising.  That positivity being said, there were some negatives.  At times the book felt repetitive, as if she was making the same point again and again.  Also at times, I felt like she was name dropping a bit, she used to be an executive at MTV and doesn't let you forget it or how many of her close friends are famous.  Overall I enjoyed the book, it really caused me to do some thinking about myself, and how I want to represent myself in day to day life, and also as a age.  I am going to give this book a dual rating, while it was insightful no matter your age, it is better suited for women over the age of 40 (ish), and to them I give the book a 3, Find a Used Book Store, women a little younger, who aren't quite beginning to feel their age, I would give it a 4, Borrow from a Friend.

Do you agree with my review, do you think I am totally off base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me what you think!

Are you looking for more books with romance?  Be sure to check out our Romance Section!

If this book were a movie, it would likely be rated PG-13 for brief but very strong language, and (minimal) adult sexual themes.

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