Between a Rock and a Hot Place: Why Fifty Is the New Fifty

Overview

As she approached her fiftieth birthday, Tracey Jackson found herself bombarded by a catchphrase on everyone’s lips: “Fifty is the new thirty.” With a comedy writer’s training and a screenwriter’s eye for detail, Jackson skewers that particular myth with a hilarious, bare-knuckled, and ultimately practical appraisal of what middle age really means today. Jackson not only faces the elephant in the room, she puts it under a (very large) microscope, confronting the truth about death, work, and sex in what the French...

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Between a Rock and a Hot Place: Why Fifty Is the New Fifty

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Overview

As she approached her fiftieth birthday, Tracey Jackson found herself bombarded by a catchphrase on everyone’s lips: “Fifty is the new thirty.” With a comedy writer’s training and a screenwriter’s eye for detail, Jackson skewers that particular myth with a hilarious, bare-knuckled, and ultimately practical appraisal of what middle age really means today. Jackson not only faces the elephant in the room, she puts it under a (very large) microscope, confronting the truth about death, work, and sex in what the French call the “third age.”

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Editorial Reviews

The Oprah Magazine O
“Laugh-out-loud funny.”
Booklist
“Glib, gossipy, and genuinely gutsy, Jackson’s take on this middle-aged milestone will have any woman who is 50, approaching 50, or waving bye-bye in the rear-view mirror wondering, ‘Who is this woman and how did she get inside my head?’”
Susan Salter Reynolds
“Jackson covers it all . . . with humor and a firm hand. . . . The book is nothing less than what my own grandmother used to call a ‘godsend.’”
Erica Jong
“A fiercely funny book about a most unfunny subject-aging.”
Susan Cheever
“The cure for fear is laughter, and this book offers a powerful antidote to all the scary aspects of aging. Jackson’s stunning candor and sparkling high spirits will have women of all ages laughing as they confront everything from menopause to wrinkles, thanks to this funny, practical and engaging book.”
John Berendt
“Tracey Jackson confronts the speed bumps of life with wit, brilliant insights, and the kind of common sense that leaves you wondering, ‘Now, why didn’t I think of that?’ Between a Rock and a Hot Place is more than a good read, it’s good company.”
Judy Collins
“Between a Rock and a Hot Place is sexy, witty, energizing, smart, and full of terrific advice…. Run, do not walk, to get the book, and then call your nutritionist, your GYN, your health club, your nearest Whole Foods, your mothers and daughters, and tell them all about it.”
Publishers Weekly
In her first book, Huffington Post blogger Jackson, 52, dishes up advice for women on adjusting to aging with no aspect of her life out of bounds. After her doctor reminds her of the benefits of self-satisfaction, she dreams up a masturbatory fantasy starring Jon Stewart; a play date ends with her having to search for her reading glasses to decipher a sex-toy instruction manual. Also candid about her cosmetic procedures, Jackson confesses that though her face drooped like a stroke victim's after getting 40 Botox shots in one visit, her solution was to get more Botox and other toxins injected on a regular basis. Jackson also shares how after her screenwriting career spiraled downward due in part, she believes, to ageism, she took more control by producing and directing a documentary; her grieving when her firstborn flew the nest for college; and the crushing, sudden death of her best friend. Jackson's financial tips are sensible if familiar, but the happily married author's fake tryout of an Internet dating site seems insulting to singles. Jackson is a perceptive guide to the country of aging, but her frankness and self-deprecating humor often veer into crude and off-putting territory. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Finally, there is a voice of reality to counter the claims of a youth-oriented culture and put forward the idea that successful aging isn't about denying reality, but planning for the future. Screenwriter Jackson writes with the humor of Nora Ephron, the honesty of a fiftysomething, and the reality of medical science to commiserate on the aging process (e.g., death of friends) and help readers prepare for the best future life possible. Jackson acknowledges what needs to be done (e.g., getting that colonoscopy and making wise financial choices) in a way that fellow baby boomers will appreciate. Recommended for all public libraries and as a birthday gift for friends turning 60 (fiftysomethings may still be in denial).
Kirkus Reviews

Breezy chick-lit memoir/self-help manual for the menopausal woman by screenwriter Jackson (Confessions of a Shopaholic), who works hard to be funny and sometimes succeeds.

The author begins by assessing her grandmother as having been too negligent of her body and appearance and her mother as obsessed with her looks but misguided. After the chapter on Botox and plastic surgery, readers may well conclude that the author is a tad obsessed as well, but with the advantage of newer tools and information. First, though, Jackson looks at the horrors of menopause and the effects of declining estrogen production on a woman's libido. The author has fun with a fantasy-aided masturbation scene and another involving sex toys too complicated for a middle-aged couple. The declining-estrogen chapter leads naturally into a discussion of the numerous health woes that can beset the no-longer-young. Jackson also tackles losses—of one's job, which threatens one's identity; of children, who grow up and leave home; of friends and acquaintances taken away by death. She makes an attempt at financial advice for those turning 50: Live within your income and plan ahead. Then the author returns to a more entertaining topic—meeting men on the Internet. She conducts an experiment using herself as guinea pig and concludes that there are in fact decent men out there, and the Internet is one way for a middle-aged woman to find them, if she has patience and perseverance. If there's a take-home message, it's that at 50, don't fool yourself into believing that you are still youthful and that the best is yet to come. However, there is still time to live life fully as a mature woman.

The self-help aspects are overshadowed by the author's self-centeredness, and her prolonged quest for a youthful appearance belies her ostensible message about recognizing one's maturity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061669286
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/21/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 756,408
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tracey Jackson

A screenwriter for seventeen years, Tracey Jackson has written and sold films to all the major studios. She blogs on her own website and for the Huffington Post. She lives in New York City with her husband, Glenn Horowitz, and two daughters. You can follow her on Twitter @ TraceyJackson4.

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 20, 2011

    50 Birthday

    I started reading this book on my 50th birthday. i love it! I can only hope Ms Jackson will write and share more of her great wit with us!

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    Posted March 25, 2011

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