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Touching on ...
Touching on everything that's part of life at 50, this book is full of reflections on family, career, money, sex, mortality, friendship, regrets, memories, doctors, rivals, yearnings, sleep, lust, embarrassments, and horizons. A perfect gift, inspiration, and resource, this is a whimsical, wise, funny, bittersweet, evocative, nostalgic book. National ads. Online promo. 224 pp. 85,000 print.
In a text shamelessly aimed at the blip in birth stats known as the baby boom, the author waxes, in turn, philosophical and nostalgic. The boomers, after all, are approaching an age when everyone's mirror starts to reflect a likeness of Ernest Borgnine or Barbara Bush (and which one it may reflect doesn't depend on gender, it seems). While the once evergreen Dick and Jane inevitably evolve into the quintessential oldsters Darby and Joan, old Mr. Greene mutters about past menus and mores and the odd ways of parents, children, and people in general. Junk food and junk music are recalled fondly. Replete with memories of cheeseburgers, the Beach Boys, and innocent childhood, the whimsy is good-natured, homely, and gentle. But it's better taken in column-size doses. A little of this sort of maundering goes pretty far. The approach can be trite ("Perhaps, at 50, we must become our parents whether we wish to or not") or strained ("When every house had a sewing machine," he supposes, "the national fabric seemed just a little stronger"). The writing can be simply careless ("in a country where the act of reading sometimes feels like an endangered species") or simple flapdoodle (a lone paragraph: "You begin to realize that the Reader's Digest has very interesting articles"). The one-liners, homilies, advisories, and anecdotes add up, after all, to less than a sum of the disparate parts.
Rampant nostalgia and inoffensive sentiment, marketed to the newly middle-aged. Here's a text that looks a lot like a mammoth Hallmark birthday card.
|1||Like a Teenager Who's Been in a Fight||11|
|2||Sleepless Nights, 50-Year-Old Feet, and Other Little Signs||13|
|3||Pollen Counts, the Fruit Plate, and Hat-Store Memories||27|
|4||The James Bond Pleasures, and Other Truths of 50||41|
|5||Perspectives from Miles Off Youthquake Beach||56|
|6||Dana Andrews' Sons, Barbara Stanwyck's Daughters||72|
|7||The Saturday Night Crowd and Our Parents' America||86|
|8||The Ladder with No Top Rung||102|
|9||Uncle Phil in Your Bedroom Mirror||118|
|10||The Hyatt Regency Shady Acres, and Other Marketing Strategies||134|
|11||You Guys Don't Belong at Urban Outfitters||151|
|12||Life's Unanswered Questions: Toasters, Coleslaw, Davy Crockett||166|
|13||The Road to Happiness Is Paved with Dubble Bubble||181|
|14||Hope Is Right Around the Corner||197|
|15||"Those Guys Must Be Having So Much Fun"||210|
|16||Ike's Roads and Bogey's Nights: Going and Staying Put||226|
|17||The Things You'd Like to Get Back||239|
|18||"Who Moved That Lamp?": The New, Cranky You||255|
|19||Looking Toward a Future Without Mount Rushmore||267|
|20||Ballparks and Wal-Marts, Rewards and Joys||282|