Judith Viorst was born and brought up in New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers University, moved to Greenwich Village, and has lived in Washington, DC, since 1960, when she married Milton Viorst, a political writer. They have three sons and seven grandchildren. A graduate in 1981 of the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, Viorst writes in many different areas: science books, children’s chapter and picture books—including the beloved Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which has sold some four million copies—adult fiction and nonfiction—including the New York Times bestseller, Necessary Losses—poetry for children and adults, and four musicals. Her most recent book of poetry for adults, Wait For Me and Other Poems About the Irritations and Consolations of a Long Marriage, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2015. Her most recent book of poetry for children, What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? was published in 2016 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books.
Suddenly Sixty and Other Shocks of Later Lifeby Judith Viorst
Judith Viorst is known and loved by readers of all ages, for children’s books such as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; nonfiction titles, including the bestseller Necessary Losses; and her collections of humorous poetry, which make perfect gifts for birthdays, Mother’s Day, graduation, Christmas, Chanukah, or at any time of year.
Suddenly Sixty is a funny and touching book that speaks directly to the sixty-ish woman, inviting her to laugh about, sigh over, and come to hopeful terms with the complex issues of this decade of life.
Among the poems in this charmingly illustrated collection are those exploring the joys—and strains—of children and grandchildren, and the intimacy of old friends who’ve ‘known each other so long/We knew each other back when we were virgins.” There are poems that tip their hat to mortality, wrestle with a husband’s retirement —“He’s coming with me when I shop at the supermarket/So I won't have to shop alone. I like alone.”— and acknowledge the fact that at this stage of life we’d “give up a night of wild rapture with Denzel Washington for a nice report on my next bone density test.” Offering plenty of laughs, a few tears, and cover-to-cover truths, these are poems for everyone who would “rather say never say die than enough is enough.” Every woman who has reached this decade will—rueful and smiling—find herself in the pages of this book.
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Ms. Viorst has become more outspoken in these poems than in her earlier 'decade' works. I think you'll like the change. 'It still will be impossible to persuade my husband when lost to stop the goddamn car, and ask for directions.' Concerning her husband's retirement, 'And guess who's the hobby he chose?' In talking about her children and grandchildren, she exults that her grandchild prefers her for cuddling to her son. You'll never quite think about life the same way after you read '1963 -- Niagara, 1999 -- Viagra.' On the other hand, she's hanging in there as a woman. 'I've painted blue nail polish on my toes . . . .' 'I will still buy bikini underwear.' 'I don't intend to stop showing a little cleavage.' Yet, '. . . it's hard to be frisky over sixty.' 'L's for libido -- what's happened to sex?' There are also the inevitable losses. 'How am I going to walk in this world without talking to my friend about eyeliner and the meaning of the universe?' She has some very strong feelings about the bad things that should happen to the man who leaves his wife of 42 years for a younger woman. One of the best sequences comes in a series of poems on the subject of 'A Brief History of Marriage' that begins with 'a life lived -- at least for a while -- in paradise.' In 'To Be Continued' we learn that '. . . sometimes we still get a glimpse of paradise.' My favorite poem on aging was 'Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.' The poem is a long list of all the things that can and usually do disturb slumber. If none of these occur, she says, 'I might -- I just actually might -- do a little sleeping.' There's still a wonderful optimism about how good things could be. In 'If Only,' she contemplates reconstructing the world. 'If only shopping at Saks counted as exercise.' The poems are grouped in five sections: Suddenly Sixty, A Brief History of Marriage, More on Marriage, The Children and Grandchildren, and Other Shocks. The witty poems are wonderfully illustrated with red and black drawings by Laurie Rosenwell. Whatever your age, ask yourself which attributes of youth you would like to retain and which qualities of greater age you would like to add. In this way, you can create a wonderful combination that will serve you better than simply fulfilling the expectations of society about 'acting your age.' Enjoy your age!
Judith Viorst can always be depended upon to deliver wit and wisdom when writing on the topic of growing older. I have given her books, for birthday gifts, for years and they are consistantly well received by all. You cannot go wrong with Judith Viorst. Two thumbs waaaay up!
A very refreshing book. Truth and humor are combined to help mange the aging process. It has been the perfect gift for all my girlfriends that are turning 60. Jane G from PA
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute reading this book, I could not put it down, the authors insights are penetrating.