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Nothing to Fall Back on: The Life and Times of a Perpetual Optimist
     

Nothing to Fall Back on: The Life and Times of a Perpetual Optimist

by Betsy Carter
 

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Successful and smart, Betsy Carter was not only the ultimate New York Woman, she was also founder of a magazine by that name. For nearly 20 years she led a life that others only dream oftravel, power, fashion, partiesuntil things started to go terribly wrong. Carter faced a series of catastrophes: a devastating car accident, a failed marriage, a house that burned

Overview

Successful and smart, Betsy Carter was not only the ultimate New York Woman, she was also founder of a magazine by that name. For nearly 20 years she led a life that others only dream oftravel, power, fashion, partiesuntil things started to go terribly wrong. Carter faced a series of catastrophes: a devastating car accident, a failed marriage, a house that burned down. Then her magazine folded, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Somehow, though, through sheer perseverance, optimism, and a keen sense of the absurd, Betsy Carter kept going, and lived to tell about it.

Editorial Reviews

Desert News
Uplifting.
USA Today
Frank, insightful, and bubbling with humor. . . And intriguing account by an extraordinary person.
Publishers Weekly
In her first book, Carter, the founding editor of New York Woman and current editor of My Generation, offers a refreshingly upbeat chronicle that covers the traditional memoir fare of life after divorce, surviving breast cancer and recovering from a disfiguring accident and more. After fulfilling her childhood wish to be ajournalistinnewyork and rising to a senior position at Esquire, Carter began her descent into what she calls The Dark Years. I' d lost my teeth, my ability to bear children, my husband, my house, and everything in it. Stripped bare again and again. If this were a movie, I' d skip to the end and pray for a happy ending. But this was my life, and there was no easy fast forward. Ultimately, the list of woes includes her mother' s inoperable brain tumor and the demise of New York Woman. Carter alternates the story of her adult traumas with recollections of coming of age in the 1950s, the daughter of refugees from Hitler' s Germany. Of all her losses, Carter writes most poetically about confronting the reality of aging, ailing parents. At the end of a visit to her recently diagnosed mother once a strong, pragmatic woman who supported the family Carter remembers, she came over to me and pressed a brown paper bag into my hand... I ate the sandwich slowly, knowing that this was the beginning of our saying good-bye. Thankfully, Carter' s style is mostly breezier, and her engaging account of her triumph over adversity (to a comparatively happy ending) should gratify many readers. Agent, Kathy Robbins. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Told with grace and humor, a life story that gives new meaning to the word resilience, from an ambitious and successful woman whose travails once seemed unending. Presently the editor of AARP's My Generation magazine, Carter boasts a career history most journalists can only fantasize about. Starting with Air and Water News, she moved on to Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek, and Esquire (of which she became editorial director), then launched her own magazine, New York Woman. She had a thoughtful and loving husband, an apartment in Manhattan, and a house in upstate New York. But a car spinout when they were on vacation in Nova Scotia was followed by a series of disasters. A taxi accident fractured her jaw, knocked out most of her teeth, and shredded her lip; her face had to be reconstructed. In the middle of launching New York Woman, she discovered her husband was gay. Not long after that, the magazine was sold, her upstate house burned down, she underwent treatment with a psychotherapist, who ultimately recommended exorcism, and she began to suffer from asthma. Her mother developed a brain tumor, and a promising affair ended. Nevertheless, Carter met and married a man who appeared to be a soulmate. A week after their wedding and the celebration of New York Woman's fifth anniversary, she was told the magazine would fold. Then came the diagnosis of malignant breast cancer requiring immediate surgery. Carter got through the surgery and the subsequent chemotherapy; ten years later, she has launched a new magazine and remains happily with her second husband. Chapters about her successes and woes are interspersed with sections on growing up Jewish in predominantly Christian Florida and attendingcollege in Michigan. No psychic chicken soup here, but a chronology of life's roller coaster that may intrigue those on the same crooked track.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786867615
Publisher:
Hyperion
Publication date:
08/07/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.87(w) x 8.62(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Betsy Carter is the author of The Orange Blossom Special and a memoir, Nothing to Fall Back On. She is a contributing editor to O: The Oprah Magazine and writes for Good Housekeeping, New York, and AARP, among others. She formerly served as an editor at Esquire, Newsweek, and Harper's Bazaar and was the founding editor of New York Woman. She lives in New York City.

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