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From the revered author of the bestselling The Hidden Life of Dogs, a witty, engaging, life-affirming account of the joy, strength, and wisdom that comes with age. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has spent a lifetime observing the natural world, chronicling the customs of pre-contact hunter-gatherers and the secret lives of deer and dogs. In this book, the capstone of her long ca From the revered author of the bestselling The Hidden Life of Dogs, a witty, engaging, life-affirming account of the joy, strength, and wisdom that comes with age. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has spent a lifetime observing the natural world, chronicling the customs of pre-contact hunter-gatherers and the secret lives of deer and dogs. In this book, the capstone of her long career, Thomas, now eighty-eight, turns her keen eye to her own life. The result is an account of growing old that is at once funny and charming and intimate and profound, both a memoir and a life-affirming map all of us may follow to embrace our later years with grace and dignity. A charmingly intimate account and a broad look at the social and historical traditions related to aging, Growing Old explores a wide range of issues connected with growing older, from stereotypes of the elderly as burdensome to the methods of burial humans have used throughout history to how to deal with a concerned neighbor who assumes you’re buying cat food to eat for dinner. Written with the wit of Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck and the lyrical beauty and serene wisdom of When Breath Becomes Air, Growing Old is an expansive and deeply personal paean to the beauty and the brevity of life that offers understanding for everyone, regardless of age.


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From the revered author of the bestselling The Hidden Life of Dogs, a witty, engaging, life-affirming account of the joy, strength, and wisdom that comes with age. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has spent a lifetime observing the natural world, chronicling the customs of pre-contact hunter-gatherers and the secret lives of deer and dogs. In this book, the capstone of her long ca From the revered author of the bestselling The Hidden Life of Dogs, a witty, engaging, life-affirming account of the joy, strength, and wisdom that comes with age. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has spent a lifetime observing the natural world, chronicling the customs of pre-contact hunter-gatherers and the secret lives of deer and dogs. In this book, the capstone of her long career, Thomas, now eighty-eight, turns her keen eye to her own life. The result is an account of growing old that is at once funny and charming and intimate and profound, both a memoir and a life-affirming map all of us may follow to embrace our later years with grace and dignity. A charmingly intimate account and a broad look at the social and historical traditions related to aging, Growing Old explores a wide range of issues connected with growing older, from stereotypes of the elderly as burdensome to the methods of burial humans have used throughout history to how to deal with a concerned neighbor who assumes you’re buying cat food to eat for dinner. Written with the wit of Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck and the lyrical beauty and serene wisdom of When Breath Becomes Air, Growing Old is an expansive and deeply personal paean to the beauty and the brevity of life that offers understanding for everyone, regardless of age.

30 review for Growing Old: Notes on Aging with Something like Grace

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    Somewhere around five years ago I was prompted to read Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’ The Hidden Life of Deer after reading Will Byrnes’ excellent review of the same. Since then I’ve ventured more often into non-fiction than in prior years, and although I still read more fiction than non-fiction, I’ve discovered authors, like Thomas, who manage to bring these books to life. In fact, while I was reading The Hidden Life of Deer, invariably a deer would manage to wander through my back yard as though s Somewhere around five years ago I was prompted to read Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’ The Hidden Life of Deer after reading Will Byrnes’ excellent review of the same. Since then I’ve ventured more often into non-fiction than in prior years, and although I still read more fiction than non-fiction, I’ve discovered authors, like Thomas, who manage to bring these books to life. In fact, while I was reading The Hidden Life of Deer, invariably a deer would manage to wander through my back yard as though summoned by the power of my reading her book. And although no octogenarians wandered through my yard while reading this, her words will wander through me for some time, reminding me of the blessings, perspectives and wisdom that come with time. ”The aging process is an essential part of the human story, and it’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s as strange as it is captivating – a venture to the unknown.” ”As we age, we experience changes, and perhaps the most dramatic is in our sense of time. When we were young, time crawled along slowly, but as we start aging, it flies. Covering a range of topics, she discusses everything from how, as a child, she tended to view old age as ”a rare condition I didn’t need to think about,” but that as she has gathered years of living, she views it as something that ”one slides into it quietly,” to how strange it now seems to her to no longer be seen, as though the years are slowly causing her to disappear from view, the sight of her no longer seems to register with those walking toward her. The memories she has of learning of the first time a family member died, and although she had never met her, she burst into tears, so strong that she can visualize it all. Death leaves an indelible mark on us, more so if it is the death of someone we loved, but even the thought of death, or being confronted with the death of someone we barely knew, or knew of, it’s the entrance of that word that creates that sense of discomfort. No one likes to think about death, even if they don’t fear it, even if it doesn’t involve someone they knew. Most people can’t even really conceive of the realities of growing old, let alone death, even though it is inevitable. And, let’s be honest, only the very young can’t wait to be older. While this covers a broad range of the things one normally associates with aging, and death, this is far from gloomy. There are lighter moments, and insightful glimpses that occasionally include some dark humour, especially as it relates to the pitfalls and physical changes that come with aging. “Losing” keys, glasses, etc. only to find them in some random spot later on – of course, only after purchasing a replacement. Coming to terms with the physical aspects of aging, the slowing down, facing the fact that those things you could once do easily are no longer easy, and sometimes impossible. And, of course, there is some advice on preparing for the inevitable, for, as she says, “death is the price we pay for life.” Pub Date: 28 April 2020 Many thanks for the ARC provided by HarperCollins Publishers / HarperOne, NetGalley & Edelweiss

  2. 4 out of 5

    Canadian

    This was interesting enough to complete, but it didn’t offer any startling insights into what old age is like. The reader gets the typical sorts of details: how one’s memory, especially for names, fails; how time passes differently—more rapidly—than it does when one is young; how the body gives out, and so on. Interspersed with interesting details about the author’s life are bits of (sometimes comparative) anthropological information about the San bushmen of the Kalahari, with whom Marshall Thom This was interesting enough to complete, but it didn’t offer any startling insights into what old age is like. The reader gets the typical sorts of details: how one’s memory, especially for names, fails; how time passes differently—more rapidly—than it does when one is young; how the body gives out, and so on. Interspersed with interesting details about the author’s life are bits of (sometimes comparative) anthropological information about the San bushmen of the Kalahari, with whom Marshall Thomas spent considerable time and whom she wrote about, as well as information about old age/retirement homes and communities, which she researched both for a future self who might need to move into one and for her readers, who might be interested in knowing what’s available. The text is fairly lively, but occasionally rambling and disorganized. I don’t regret reading the book, but I can’t say it’s a memorable piece of writing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linden

    The author, a retired anthropologist in her late eighties, is as she tells us in the introduction, a widow and a great grandmother. I had read her book about dogs, so I thought I’d like to see what she had to say about aging. She talks about forgetfulness, hearing aids, a hip fracture, health issues, memories, alienation, isolation, the good old days, religion, nursing homes, smoking, dementia, and of course, death. I thought her observations might have worked better as a shorter magazine piece. The author, a retired anthropologist in her late eighties, is as she tells us in the introduction, a widow and a great grandmother. I had read her book about dogs, so I thought I’d like to see what she had to say about aging. She talks about forgetfulness, hearing aids, a hip fracture, health issues, memories, alienation, isolation, the good old days, religion, nursing homes, smoking, dementia, and of course, death. I thought her observations might have worked better as a shorter magazine piece. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gail C.

    From the description of this book, I was expecting a recounting of a life well lived that was warm and endearing, one that reflected joy in the experiences the author had had, and a feeling of a “life well lived”. Instead, what I was reminded of was the Dylan Thomas poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”. In many ways, it struck me as someone who was, indeed, raging against the dying of the light. There were glimpses of an extraordinary life lived by the author, experiences beyond what most From the description of this book, I was expecting a recounting of a life well lived that was warm and endearing, one that reflected joy in the experiences the author had had, and a feeling of a “life well lived”. Instead, what I was reminded of was the Dylan Thomas poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”. In many ways, it struck me as someone who was, indeed, raging against the dying of the light. There were glimpses of an extraordinary life lived by the author, experiences beyond what most people have had, and a ferocious desire to maintain independence as long as was physically possible. I also felt there was some humor, but it was a humor I didn’t truly understand. Perhaps it was a Yankee type of humor, one that comes from living in the taciturn northeastern United States. Or, perhaps, it was humor that was born from the vast experiences of the author, many of which were hinted at, but not detailed in the book. The end result was not so much disappointment, as a feeling that, no matter how many times I read the book, I wouldn’t understand it. Was that because my family has lived exclusively in the south? We can trace our ancestors back to their roots in 1500 Scotland, but in the United States they all lived exclusively in the deep south. That meant it was a struggle for me to understand her environment and to put context around her words. Her narrative didn’t do that for me, either, so I was left with a feeling of somehow having missed the point of the book. My thanks to Harper Collins Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced digital reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Perhaps there is a specific audience for whom this book will resonate with “ah ha” moments, but I’m not sure who that audience is.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Bayer

    I always know I'm going to give a good review on a book when I have to read multiple sections of it to whatever friends or family are around while I'm reading it. :) I read a digital ARC of this book while I was spending the week with my best friend in Nebraska, and I read so many passages to her that she ended up reading it herself. Thomas writes honestly about what it's like to be approaching 90, on topics such as losing loved ones, failing bodies, making arrangements ahead of time for your own I always know I'm going to give a good review on a book when I have to read multiple sections of it to whatever friends or family are around while I'm reading it. :) I read a digital ARC of this book while I was spending the week with my best friend in Nebraska, and I read so many passages to her that she ended up reading it herself. Thomas writes honestly about what it's like to be approaching 90, on topics such as losing loved ones, failing bodies, making arrangements ahead of time for your own passing, memory loss, spirituality and an afterlife, and how aging changes us, among others. While I am only in middle age myself, I related to much of what she wrote. Too many of my friends and family members have died recently at too fast a pace, and I can only imagine what it must be like to be her age and to have had to deal with the deaths of your spouse, siblings, parents and friends. I had lost both of my parents by 31 and she lost her mother in her 70's (her mother lived to be 105 and published her last book -- with Harvard Press, no less -- at 104!), so in some ways I relate more on that level. Her stories of her parents' and grandparents' old ages were also quite interesting, and it saddened me to note how different old age is now than it was just a generation ago when our elders lived with us in their final years. What made the book especially interesting to me wasn't the basic content, though, it was Thomas's unique experiences and insights. She lived among the San people of Africa for a time in her childhood and has an extensive insight into that culture and ancient cultures in general. I found her stories at interesting, sweet, funny and heartbreaking. I also appreciated her introspection about her own feelings about other creatures (her description of four animals she'd witnessed reacting to their upcoming deaths was moving and fascinating). I loved Thomas's frank way of talking and her conversational manner. Thomas is straight talking, quirky and I laughed out loud more than a few times. Others may object to her religious views (she's basically atheist) but she shares them merely as a friend who would share her thoughts and her memories, not as doctrine the reader needs to believe. Another reviewer said she was bothered by the rambling, but I enjoyed it. I don't want to read a textbook or how-to manual on aging and dying. I much appreciated reading this for what it was -- a thoughtful book by a fascinating woman sharing her thoughts on a topic rarely discussed. The best books leave you feeling as if you've made a friend, and that's the feeling I got with this book. Recommended. I read a digital ARC of this book for the purpose of review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sam Sattler

    Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has lived an extraordinary life. She has been a bestselling author of books about animal behavior and other cultures based upon her decades of personal observations and experiences from around the world. She has, in fact, been places and done things that the rest of us can only dream about. Thomas, though, is eighty-eight years old and that kind of adventure is forever behind her. These days, the author spends much of her time observing the human aging process in hersel Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has lived an extraordinary life. She has been a bestselling author of books about animal behavior and other cultures based upon her decades of personal observations and experiences from around the world. She has, in fact, been places and done things that the rest of us can only dream about. Thomas, though, is eighty-eight years old and that kind of adventure is forever behind her. These days, the author spends much of her time observing the human aging process in herself and those around her and figuring out how to make the best of the years she has left. Now, with Growing Old: Notes on Aging with Something Like Grace, she shares her observations and thoughts with the rest of us. Perhaps because Thomas is only seventeen years older than me, and that I’ve been caring for my 97-year-old father for a decade now, relatively little of what she has to say here really surprises me. I suspect, though, that readers in their fourth and fifth decades will have an entirely different reaction to reading Growing Old. Too, those hoping to find religiously-based reasons for not fearing aging and death should note that they are not going to find them here. According to Thomas, “…by the time I was in my teens, I’d decided that if God does unacceptable things, he’s not like an employer whose job you can quit or a public official you can vote against. All you can do about a cruel invisible tyrant is to believe he doesn’t exist.” She goes on to say, “So I decided there wasn’t a hell, and death seemed a little less horrible.” Growing Old includes chapters on how quickly time seems to pass for elderly people; on reasons not to fear death; on how deteriorating eyesight can directly lead to hearing loss and dementia; on the “cultural problems” associated with old age; on how too many doctors really feel about the elderly; and on how having friends will keep you alive, among other topics. And then there are the practical chapters covering topics such as senior living communities, medications, funeral homes and cemeteries, and the like. All of this will be invaluable information for those who are themselves approaching old age or whose parents are already there. But there are also takeaways for near-contemporaries of the author, cheerful little pep talks like the following paragraph: “Thus life while aging can be wonderful. It’s just wonderful in a different way than it was when you were young. For instance, you’re smarter than the younger people, but not because your brain functions better. Your brain was at its peak when you were thirty, and now that you’re old, you forget people’s names and lose things. But you understand the world around you more deeply and clearly. You excel at interpreting your surroundings because of all you’ve learned.” And, finally, there’s this thought: “Not only can you adjust to aging; you can sometimes do the things you did when you were young. You just do them with a little more equipment and in different ways, which seems easy enough, especially if age has made you smarter and more thoughtful.” Bottom Line: Sometimes deadly serious, sometimes funny, Growing Old is part memoir, part handbook on the whole aging process. While it does not break much new ground, it does offer useful insights into growing old for the uninitiated. It could be especially useful, I think, for those trying to deal with and understand their elderly parents. Next up for Thomas is a book on commas, how to use them correctly and why she loves them so much. I can’t wait. (Seriously.)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Angie Boyter

    Enjoyable and insightful. We all grow old, that is, those of us who are lucky enough to survive to old age, but most books about aging are written by people who have not lived through it. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas says, “They saw what aging could do, but they couldn’t have known what it’s like.” As an 87-year-old anthropologist, Thomas has the expertise to observe and report and a wealth of material to draw from. The result is twenty short essays offering a rich blend of memoir, anthropological Enjoyable and insightful. We all grow old, that is, those of us who are lucky enough to survive to old age, but most books about aging are written by people who have not lived through it. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas says, “They saw what aging could do, but they couldn’t have known what it’s like.” As an 87-year-old anthropologist, Thomas has the expertise to observe and report and a wealth of material to draw from. The result is twenty short essays offering a rich blend of memoir, anthropological observation, and philosophy on life, death, and what it feels like to grow old. An advantage of the short essay format is that it invites us to pause and muse on insights we especially liked in a particular essay. One bit of philosophy that stuck with me was the wisdom drawn from seeing a stone in a field in her rural New Hampshire property. In contrast to our short lives as humans, that stone has probably existed about 300 million years, a “life” that we humans might envy. “But as far as the stone is concerned, nothing has happened….I think you might agree that life with a price [i.e., death] seems better.” Indeed, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has led a rich and even adventurous life and, as an anthropologist, has written about many of her experiences for those of us who are highly unlikely to experience them ourselves. She has expanded her field of study and writing to other societies, like cats, dogs, deer, and lions. These experiences significantly influence how she views her old age and lend her insights, not only into how it feels to grow old, but also into how others perceive older people. Even a kindly neighbor who brings her homemade soup makes her feel she is being seen as a “walking cadaver”. I don’t have nearly as many years behind me as the author, but even I can recognize the phenomenon. Thomas’ early years also contribute to her feelings about age and death. We hear about those as well, such as her vivid recollection of her reaction to the death of a cousin when Thomas was only three. My favorite parts of the book are her personal accounts of the routine experiences of aging. She talks about the downsides, like breaking her hip, but also some surprising advantages. There is also the recognition that as we age we come to appreciate and value the small joys of life, like the pleasure of going to bed with her three cats and two dogs. If you are into what society calls “your senior years”, you will be nodding your head in recognition throughout this book and more than once probably responding “I never thought of it quite like that.” Younger readers will perhaps start looking at older folks in a new way. The subtitle of Growing Old is “Notes on Aging with Something like Grace”. Thomas has grace, indeed, but I would suggest that something like “verve” or “joie de vivre” describes her approach to aging better. Although she freely acknowledges the inevitability of death, she is not focused on preparing for it but rather on experiencing the rest of her life. As she says, ”I’m already old, but if I live as long as my mother lived, to just shy of 104, what would my life have been like if I’d started to worry when I was twenty?” This reminded me of evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr, who published his last book at the age of 100. I would not be surprised to see Elizabeth Marshall Thomas beat this achievement. My thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for an advance review copy of this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I’m getting older — we all are. I’ve always tried to face life prepared, whether it’s going to college, having a baby, or, well — growing old. I was intrigued by the title and decided to review “Growing Old: Notes on Aging with Something Like Grace,” by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (thanks, NetGalley, for a review ecopy). Elizabeth Marshall Thomas knows what it is like to grow old: “I’m a widowed great-grandmother, 87 years old, who knows what aging feels like and how we elderly are viewed.” She writ I’m getting older — we all are. I’ve always tried to face life prepared, whether it’s going to college, having a baby, or, well — growing old. I was intrigued by the title and decided to review “Growing Old: Notes on Aging with Something Like Grace,” by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (thanks, NetGalley, for a review ecopy). Elizabeth Marshall Thomas knows what it is like to grow old: “I’m a widowed great-grandmother, 87 years old, who knows what aging feels like and how we elderly are viewed.” She writes that, “except for senior discounts we see nothing good about (aging). When it comes, we try to hide it while our minds and bodies crumble, and death is our only escape. But this view is needlessly negative. Death is the price we pay for life.” I enjoyed Thomas’ take on various aspects of aging. It was gratifying to read about how wonderful it was for her to get a hearing aid: “Suddenly you’re part of your environment — right inside it, not just looking at it. My hearing loss had come so gradually I hadn’t realized what I was missing. And then, like a miracle, my environment was no longer like a photo — it was living and breathing all around me. I felt like I felt when I was forty, the only difference being that when I was forty, I never imagined my hearing would fail.” Thomas has some chapters talking about retirement living options, and another about the funeral industry. These were fine, but they were not too detailed and honestly seemed a bit out-of-place in this book that shined more with the author’s personal insights. She is an animal lover and I enjoyed that aspect of her thoughts. She mentions that her cats became indoor cats when they began hunting birds outside — sounds like something I would do. And she mentions freeing bugs inside the house to move them outside — something Daughter #2 does. She writes movingly about the death of a favorite dog, Pearl: “It may seem wrong or at best unusual to feel this way about a dog but not always to feel this way about a person. We can change how we act, but we can’t change how we feel, and I know that I’ll miss her forever. The people I loved and lost were other people, but Pearl was like my hand.” I know what she means. It was interesting to hear her delve into the phenomena of the elderly thinking things are getting worse and worse in the world. “When I was young, I felt the same. When we start life, what we see is the norm and we accept what we’re handed. Disapproval of conditions is mainly reserved for the old when they see that things have changed.” True. This is not related to this book, but it’s something aging-related that I found interesting. I love the Netflix series “The Crown” (based on British royalty), and in a recent episode an elderly Princess Alice (Prince Philip’s mother) said, “There came a moment around the time I turned 70, when it dawned on me that I was no longer a participant (in life), rather a spectator.” This sounds familiar to a similar quote I’d read in a book, attributed to George Bush as an elder. How sad to hear that this is how the elderly are treated and perceived — especially since I (and all of us) are headed to the land of being spectators. I enjoyed the conversational tone of this book; it was like sitting down with Thomas over a cup of tea. Unfortunately (but somewhat predictably, these days), she gets into politics, dissing Presidents Trump and Reagan. She even, inexplicably, brings up in a derogatory way that Reagan’s funeral “cost $400 million” — can she blame him for the cost of his own funeral? Apparently, yes. Then we get an anecdote about her visiting Africa and marveling at the natives’ love of Obama, telling her (while “slightly embarrassed”) that Obama meant “Blessed.” Ah, now wasn’t that a meaningful addition to a book about aging? Editors out there: please advise your authors not to delve into politics. It does nothing positive for them and immediately turns off half their potential audience. Another thing that troubled me about the book was Thomas’ insistence on denying the existence of God. She remembers her grandmother spending “her life with us trying to persuade us to accept Christ as our Savior, and we couldn’t, so I hope she accepted our failure as something God wanted, and that God’s will was done.” So sad. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that it’s not God’s will that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance. I’m hopeful that even someone whose heart is as hard as Thomas’ may eventually realize that. Thomas has had a many-years-long habit of heavy smoking, and she holds back nothing in this book, even sharing that “I know I’ll make a mental map of our town’s streets and sidewalks. Often, cigarette butts can be found there, with tobacco in most of them. I’m not sure I’d risk the indignity of picking them up because someone might see me, but the scattered butts, those potential smoking experiences, will stay in my mind.” I found that kind of sad, and was again grateful I’d never started smoking. Thomas shares many memories indelibly fixed into her brain; terrible scenes of her loved ones and pets who have died. This was kind of disturbing, and honestly, while this book was interesting in many ways, I found it pretty depressing in many others.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    A forthcoming look at positive aging and death. A fresh perspective with sound advice. The tone of the writing makes for a fast read. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Doreen Prentiss Gabriellini

    Growing Old by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas was not what I expected. I always finish an ARC when I am lucky enough to received one. I feel that before I comment on a new book, I owe it to the author to keep an open mind and to finish the book. After all they spent lots of time and effort and the least I can do is read it and comment honestly. This book was such a drag. Growing Old is much more fun than this book imparts. The entire book was a downer. I was looking for some pearls of wisdom, some hum Growing Old by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas was not what I expected. I always finish an ARC when I am lucky enough to received one. I feel that before I comment on a new book, I owe it to the author to keep an open mind and to finish the book. After all they spent lots of time and effort and the least I can do is read it and comment honestly. This book was such a drag. Growing Old is much more fun than this book imparts. The entire book was a downer. I was looking for some pearls of wisdom, some humor perhaps, some nuggets of information to take with me. Nothing, nada, zip. I realize that the author has written several books but this is not one I would recommend. Thanks to the publisher, author and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    Thanks to Netgalley, for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. This was a realistic look at what happens when you grow old - not just "older," but into your 80s. It's not the "sure, you can hike the Appalachian Trail and dance the night away" no matter how old you are sort of book - the idea that age is really just a state of mind. She's realistic about the mental and physical decline, while recognizing that there are advantages to growing old as well - a perspective on li Thanks to Netgalley, for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. This was a realistic look at what happens when you grow old - not just "older," but into your 80s. It's not the "sure, you can hike the Appalachian Trail and dance the night away" no matter how old you are sort of book - the idea that age is really just a state of mind. She's realistic about the mental and physical decline, while recognizing that there are advantages to growing old as well - a perspective on life, an ability to "read" people and situations that comes with experience. But there are problems as well, and we might just as well accept that and think about how to deal with it. The author is also realistic - she knows that she has a strong support network, including a son and his family who live right across the road, allowing her to stay in her own home. She recognizes that not everyone is in this position, so she devotes some time to "senior living" facilities and the advantages and disadvantages of moving to one. She doesn't hesitate to discuss dying, making plans for after one's death (funerals, disposal of one's body, etc.), and while it seems morbid - hey, this is somewhere we're all going to get eventually and I found it useful to think about these things. Despite what could become a very morbid topic, the author writes with grace and humor. I found myself laughing at various points, despite the serious subject, because she used a turn of phrase that tickled me. It was a difficult topic to read and think about, but in spite of that, I enjoyed reading it. I am (I hope) a few years away from a lot of these issues, but that makes it the right time to start thinking about them. This is a book that is well worth reading. I don't imagine younger readers would relate as well to it, but it would certainly give them a better understanding of their parents and grandparents and what they're living with. And for those of us who are older, it's a good guide to areas that need to be anticipated and considered.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Missy

    Growing Old by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas Ms. Thomas is a seasoned 88-year old author as she writes Growing Old, so she knows what she's writing about and how to write about it. I really enjoyed her musings about the realities of aging: hearing loss, forgetfulness, becoming "invisible," thinking about who will feed the dog if you die in your bed. Somehow, she is funny without being bitter or irreverent. She ponders death with the detachment of a scientific observer, which is exactly what she is. I Growing Old by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas Ms. Thomas is a seasoned 88-year old author as she writes Growing Old, so she knows what she's writing about and how to write about it. I really enjoyed her musings about the realities of aging: hearing loss, forgetfulness, becoming "invisible," thinking about who will feed the dog if you die in your bed. Somehow, she is funny without being bitter or irreverent. She ponders death with the detachment of a scientific observer, which is exactly what she is. I laughed as she described a near-death experience with a female lion: "one thing I gathered from the experience is that being killed by a lion would be interesting." She finds life interesting, and even the notion of death is more interesting than fearful to her. She has been through many difficult losses, as anyone her age has. She describes those with tenderness and some anger - she has unfortunately experienced terrible medical care, at times. She is not a religious person, but she respects religion because of the influence of her beloved grandmother. Her dispassionate descriptions of burial traditions may not sit well with people who have recently lost a loved one. But the section is brief. I even read all of the acknowledgements at the end of the book because I enjoy her writing style. I was provided an ARC if this book through #NetGalley

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lucia

    This was a pleasure to read. I found the information helpful and enlightening. It also made me laugh at a topic which I found little humor in, until I read this book. The attitude expressed by the author was realistic and independent and determined. All refreshing qualities which are serving her well. Thank you to Netgalley, the author Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, and the publisher Harper Collins Publishers for granting my request for a free ARC in return for an honest review. I strongly recommend This was a pleasure to read. I found the information helpful and enlightening. It also made me laugh at a topic which I found little humor in, until I read this book. The attitude expressed by the author was realistic and independent and determined. All refreshing qualities which are serving her well. Thank you to Netgalley, the author Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, and the publisher Harper Collins Publishers for granting my request for a free ARC in return for an honest review. I strongly recommend this book. No matter how old you are.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I absolutely love Elizabeth Marshall Thomas' voice in this book. She is authentic, quirky, funny, and yet the topic is not one to take lightly - growing old. But; why not grow old with grace and ones own unique take on the world in the aging process? I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading, but the author's purpose quickly came to light. I was enchanted as she described the travels embarked upon during her earlier years - exotic places where she spent years researching local flo I absolutely love Elizabeth Marshall Thomas' voice in this book. She is authentic, quirky, funny, and yet the topic is not one to take lightly - growing old. But; why not grow old with grace and ones own unique take on the world in the aging process? I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading, but the author's purpose quickly came to light. I was enchanted as she described the travels embarked upon during her earlier years - exotic places where she spent years researching local flora and fauna, living strong among local people in often less-than-desirable conditions. Here she is now, in her late 80s, and it seems that despite her years of wisdom and experience she is often overlooked and discounted, as is so common in American society. Every person of a certain age has a story to tell; life experiences to share, and yet they are often treated as children, or even worse - they are invisible. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is not invisible, nor is she childlike, in my opinion. Reading her words made me acutely aware of this. Her humor and honesty are charming and enlightening; I am so grateful to have read this book. We should all take a page from her book and live our lives to the fullest; we never know how much time we have left.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Hoss

    This is not a self-help book. It's mostly memoir, a look back at all the things the author has survived to get to the impressive age of eighty-seven, with a tiny bit of investigative journalism on the conditions of nursing homes and the funeral industry. If you liked Caitlin Doughty's Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, this is the prelude, a plea to decide how you want to grow old before you're unable to decide for yourself. That said, the author doesn't always follow her own advice. Elizabeth Marshall Tho This is not a self-help book. It's mostly memoir, a look back at all the things the author has survived to get to the impressive age of eighty-seven, with a tiny bit of investigative journalism on the conditions of nursing homes and the funeral industry. If you liked Caitlin Doughty's Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, this is the prelude, a plea to decide how you want to grow old before you're unable to decide for yourself. That said, the author doesn't always follow her own advice. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is a fascinating woman. I didn't realize when I requested an ARC that she is a bestselling author and anthropologist. If you're expecting a conservative book from a doddering old woman, this is not it. Our G Liz has escaped a lion attack. She tried to light a cigarette on her 80th birthday cake but her children wouldn't let her. She lost her husband only a few years ago. She has faced death and come out the other side wiser and a good bit more insecure, with macular degeneration and all the social indignities of growing older. I hope her children and grandchildren value her, spend quality time with her, and follow her wishes once she can't make decisions for herself. This book is extremely readable and interesting. My only note is that I wish it were longer, and maybe included more research on how to age gracefully like it says on the tin. However, I would absolutely recommend this to young and aging people alike. As a society, we need to learn to see the elderly as people, and to plan for the eventual reality of growing old (if we're lucky.) I eagerly await the author's book on commas, because I use them way too much for dramatic effect and I think she will only validate this. I received a temporary ARC in return for an honest review. #Netgalley #GrowingOld

  16. 4 out of 5

    janne Boswell

    This book infuriated me. She sleeps on a cot with her 3 dogs & 2 cats?! C'mon. Why should we care? I felt like I was reading ramblings from my neighbor, There ARE extraordinary people in their 80's that I would rather hear from, such as elders working in the Peacecorps, athletes, musicians, artists. I didn't get it? I missed the point as to why I should read her memoir. This book infuriated me. She sleeps on a cot with her 3 dogs & 2 cats?! C'mon. Why should we care? I felt like I was reading ramblings from my neighbor, There ARE extraordinary people in their 80's that I would rather hear from, such as elders working in the Peacecorps, athletes, musicians, artists. I didn't get it? I missed the point as to why I should read her memoir.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sam Sattler

    Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has lived an extraordinary life. She has been a bestselling author of books about animal behavior and other cultures based upon her decades of personal observations and experiences from around the world. She has, in fact, been places and done things that the rest of us can only dream about. Thomas, though, is eighty-eight years old and that kind of adventure is forever behind her. These days, the author spends much of her time observing the human aging process in hersel Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has lived an extraordinary life. She has been a bestselling author of books about animal behavior and other cultures based upon her decades of personal observations and experiences from around the world. She has, in fact, been places and done things that the rest of us can only dream about. Thomas, though, is eighty-eight years old and that kind of adventure is forever behind her. These days, the author spends much of her time observing the human aging process in herself and those around her and figuring out how to make the best of the years she has left. Now, with Growing Old: Notes on Aging with Something Like Grace, she shares her observations and thoughts with the rest of us. Perhaps because Thomas is only seventeen years older than me, and that I’ve been caring for my 97-year-old father for a decade now, relatively little of what she has to say here really surprises me. I suspect, though, that readers in their fourth and fifth decades will have an entirely different reaction to reading Growing Old. Too, those hoping to find religiously-based reasons for not fearing aging and death should note that they are not going to find them here. According to Thomas, “…by the time I was in my teens, I’d decided that if God does unacceptable things, he’s not like an employer whose job you can quit or a public official you can vote against. All you can do about a cruel invisible tyrant is to believe he doesn’t exist.” She goes on to say, “So I decided there wasn’t a hell, and death seemed a little less horrible.” Growing Old includes chapters on how quickly time seems to pass for elderly people; on reasons not to fear death; on how deteriorating eyesight can directly lead to hearing loss and dementia; on the “cultural problems” associated with old age; on how too many doctors really feel about the elderly; and on how having friends will keep you alive, among other topics. And then there are the practical chapters covering topics such as senior living communities, medications, funeral homes and cemeteries, and the like. All of this will be invaluable information for those who are themselves approaching old age or whose parents are already there. But there are also takeaways for near-contemporaries of the author, cheerful little pep talks like the following paragraph: “Thus life while aging can be wonderful. It’s just wonderful in a different way than it was when you were young. For instance, you’re smarter than the younger people, but not because your brain functions better. Your brain was at its peak when you were thirty, and now that you’re old, you forget people’s names and lose things. But you understand the world around you more deeply and clearly. You excel at interpreting your surroundings because of all you’ve learned.” And, finally, there’s this thought: “Not only can you adjust to aging; you can sometimes do the things you did when you were young. You just do them with a little more equipment and in different ways, which seems easy enough, especially if age has made you smarter and more thoughtful.” Bottom Line: Sometimes deadly serious, sometimes funny, Growing Old is part memoir, part handbook on the whole aging process. While it does not break much new ground, it does offer useful insights into growing old for the uninitiated. It could be especially useful, I think, for those trying to deal with and understand their elderly parents. Next up for Thomas is a book on commas, how to use them correctly and why she loves them so much. I can’t wait. (Seriously.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jena Henry

    No matter our age, we all hope to grow old, and indeed we are growing older day by day. A bestselling author of books that examine the natural world, this time Elizabeth Thomas turns the observations on herself. In a warm, wry, positive and unassuming way, Ms. Thomas looks at what it’s like to be old. Get ready to be delighted, informed and either relieved or worried, depending on your own stage of life. This is a memoir and Ms. Thomas shares bits from her past, and scenes from her current life. No matter our age, we all hope to grow old, and indeed we are growing older day by day. A bestselling author of books that examine the natural world, this time Elizabeth Thomas turns the observations on herself. In a warm, wry, positive and unassuming way, Ms. Thomas looks at what it’s like to be old. Get ready to be delighted, informed and either relieved or worried, depending on your own stage of life. This is a memoir and Ms. Thomas shares bits from her past, and scenes from her current life. Like most of us, she misplaces her keys, her glasses, and once even misplaced her parked car. (Her loyal dog was able to find it). She explains why we forget names and why we fear death. She is a kind person who puts out water for the mice that live in her walls. Apparently, the author and I do not agree on politics, but we do seem to be kindred spirits in many other ways. I, too, round up my age before I get to my birthday so I can get used to the new and greater number. While I don’t need hearing aids yet, I thought her advice and recommendations about them were spot on. And I am going to borrow from the document she wrote to her family in which she explains what she wants for her final days and funeral. (I wish she had included her recipe for the deviled eggs.) Ms. Thomas is a part of the Greatest Generation and she ends her book by reflecting on the events of her life and concludes that she lived during a positive and optimistic time, better than current times. She mentions the Depression and World War II, but left out segregation, the assassination of Pres. Kennedy and 9/11. Every generation has its high and low points. I enjoyed every page of this book and I’m ready to go gentle into that good night. Thanks to NetGalley, HarperCollins Publishers and HarperOne for an advance digital review copy. This is my honest review. (Sorry if I messed up with the commas.)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    2.5 stars, generously rounded up. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is 87 when she writes this book. “We’re prejudiced against old age. Hopefully, this book will help with the prejudice. It mentions the rough parts of aging, but only to tell the whole story. So, it’s totally truthful, and it points out the good parts too.” Generally, the book, like aging, is not that much fun, but occasionally Thomas surprises. “These days my favorite experience is going to bed.” Growing Old, the book, like growing ol 2.5 stars, generously rounded up. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is 87 when she writes this book. “We’re prejudiced against old age. Hopefully, this book will help with the prejudice. It mentions the rough parts of aging, but only to tell the whole story. So, it’s totally truthful, and it points out the good parts too.” Generally, the book, like aging, is not that much fun, but occasionally Thomas surprises. “These days my favorite experience is going to bed.” Growing Old, the book, like growing old, (in life) can be a little rambling. She tells the reader that the “book has 3,593 commas, and each fulfills its mission.” (I personally did not care. At the end, she suggests the reader go back and reread – in case they missed some of those lovely punctuations.) Marshall’s strict evangelical Nana did not help her faith development. She believes that God is a cruel invisible tyrant. She sees death as normal. “I know I’ll have an afterlife, if not a conscious one. My ashes will be mixed with those of my dogs and my family. Maybe some of our molecules will get into the seeds of a nearby plant.“ Even though she doesn’t believe in God, she believes in prayer, which ‘works for some reason.’ Not a whole lot of ‘something like grace’ here. The tone of the book is chatty. “Now I should look at myself as if I was a thing. Am I doing as well as my woodstove? Probably not, although it seemed worth finding out, but when I did, I got discouraged.” I’ve always wished my grandmothers talked with me more. Now I’m not so sure. (Did you count the commas in the quotation?) Bones are deteriorating, hearing is failing, hearing aids cost a lot, glaucoma causes problems. The author continues to smoke. The litany goes on and I search for the grace promised in the title. Marshall talks about assisted living places and suggests that readers do the research before the time comes to go there. I wonder how this fits in the story arc. Another chapter goes into the merits of different methods of body disposal, including cannibalism, cremation and human composting. The high cost of funerals and the company of death doulas is also covered. This is Important end of life info. It just didn’t fit with the chatty musings on aging. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Elizabeth leaves little capfuls of water out for the mice in her house. “Every morning I find it almost empty, surrounded by a few mouse droppings.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I enjoyed this book. I loved that the author addressed the issues of aging in the way she knew best....how it affected and is affecting her. I appreciated her honesty and humor while sharing her experiences. Having recently been a caregiver for my father, I felt in tune with her comments about hospice care and how important “just the right person” can be. Along with the forthright way she said that death needs to be addressed before it happens so both you and family are prepared, and your wishes I enjoyed this book. I loved that the author addressed the issues of aging in the way she knew best....how it affected and is affecting her. I appreciated her honesty and humor while sharing her experiences. Having recently been a caregiver for my father, I felt in tune with her comments about hospice care and how important “just the right person” can be. Along with the forthright way she said that death needs to be addressed before it happens so both you and family are prepared, and your wishes are met. The way she ended the book with her comment about the importance of “the comma” and her explanation of it earlier in the book hit home with me, as that is how I’ve always dealt with the comma in punctuation. But my thought also led me to ponder the comma’s in our lives...and how we need to stop and think about things sometimes before we proceed. As I am nearing the magic number of 70 myself......I understood much of where the author takes the reader. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Harper Collins in return for an honest review, which this has been. #NetGalley #GrowingOld

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hope

    I really enjoyed reading this story from an Octagenarian's point of view! How amazing to me to be 87 years old and be writing a book?!! It's plain to see from Mrs. Thomas's past stories, that she is no ordinary octagenarian, but a woman who's been to far-flung places in the world and has done extensive research and published before, but this subject is one that is radically different from her usual genre of wildlife and tribal observances! As a 50 year old, I am actively "counting" the years left I really enjoyed reading this story from an Octagenarian's point of view! How amazing to me to be 87 years old and be writing a book?!! It's plain to see from Mrs. Thomas's past stories, that she is no ordinary octagenarian, but a woman who's been to far-flung places in the world and has done extensive research and published before, but this subject is one that is radically different from her usual genre of wildlife and tribal observances! As a 50 year old, I am actively "counting" the years left and realize that I might have less ahead than I've already lived, and the thought is downright depressing, and at times, frightening! However, reading this author's acceptance and readiness for whatever comes lends me some grace as well. She mentions her rejection of Dylan Thomas's cry to "rage against the dying of the light" because she'd rather feel peaceful and acceptance brings peace. I hope that I can grow to accept things as she has, with grace and peace. I'll most likely be rereading this book in years to come! Also, I thought that the author's obsession with commas to be adorable, and I can only hope that if she reads this, she doesn't grimace at the placement of mine!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hope

    really enjoyed reading this story from an Octagenarian's point of view! How amazing to me to be 87 years old and be writing a book?!! It's plain to see from Mrs. Thomas's past stories, that she is no ordinary octagenarian, but a woman who's been to far-flung places in the world and has done extensive research and published before, but this subject is one that is radically different from her usual genre of wildlife and tribal observances! As a 50 year old, I am actively "counting" the years left really enjoyed reading this story from an Octagenarian's point of view! How amazing to me to be 87 years old and be writing a book?!! It's plain to see from Mrs. Thomas's past stories, that she is no ordinary octagenarian, but a woman who's been to far-flung places in the world and has done extensive research and published before, but this subject is one that is radically different from her usual genre of wildlife and tribal observances! As a 50 year old, I am actively "counting" the years left and realize that I might have less ahead than I've already lived, and the thought is downright depressing, and at times, frightening! However, reading this author's acceptance and readiness for whatever comes lends me some grace as well. She mentions her rejection of Dylan Thomas's cry to "rage against the dying of the light" because she'd rather feel peaceful and acceptance brings peace. I hope that I can grow to accept things as she has, with grace and peace. I'll most likely be rereading this book in years to come! Also, I thought that the author's obsession with commas to be adorable, and I can only hope that if she reads this, she doesn't grimace at the placement of mine!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    I’m not sure what exactly I had expected from this, but what I got was a sometimes funny, sometimes very sad, but always very candid book about aging. At 87 years-old, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, is certainly old enough to give us a bit of a heads up about the aging process. Along the way she shares some very interesting tidbits about her life, travels, family, and friends. She also talks about problems she is facing such as hearing loss, along with the search for hearing aids, her concern about I’m not sure what exactly I had expected from this, but what I got was a sometimes funny, sometimes very sad, but always very candid book about aging. At 87 years-old, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, is certainly old enough to give us a bit of a heads up about the aging process. Along the way she shares some very interesting tidbits about her life, travels, family, and friends. She also talks about problems she is facing such as hearing loss, along with the search for hearing aids, her concern about something happening to her when she is in the shower and how she always keeps her phone close enough to grab, as well as the inability to always come up with the word she wanted to use in a sentence. Some of the information, for example different types of burials and picking a place to live when you are older, are certainly topics that will be helpful for the elderly or even those who are caring for the elderly. There is such a wealth of information that I think this book will benefit many.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    In GROWING OLD, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas shares 87 years of wisdom in living and aging with triumphs and failures laid out plain and true. There is no dismissing the challenges nor crowing only about the exceptional "ageless" wonders living adventures that most of us only ever dream about, even when we are much younger, fitter, and reckless. In plain, poetic prose, Thomas takes us on an informed, marvelous journey starting with the observation that "Death is the price we pay for life" and such In GROWING OLD, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas shares 87 years of wisdom in living and aging with triumphs and failures laid out plain and true. There is no dismissing the challenges nor crowing only about the exceptional "ageless" wonders living adventures that most of us only ever dream about, even when we are much younger, fitter, and reckless. In plain, poetic prose, Thomas takes us on an informed, marvelous journey starting with the observation that "Death is the price we pay for life" and such a life it is. I felt like I was inside her mind, her heart, experiencing what it is to be fully conscious and present with her, including the best time of day when she settles in a single-bed cot with two dogs and three cats. She does not dismiss trials nor surprising joys and delivers an extraordinary piece that transformed how I think about aging, especially my own. My deepest admiration to Ms. Thomas on this accomplished book that weaves personal and professional including extraordinary stories about lives and times that enriched my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    Just entering old age, but I could certainly relate to many of Ms. Thomas' observations! I enjoyed this book very much and will likely read it again as time passes. I have noticed little things matter a great deal more now that I'm older, and many of the big issues in the past, now look so much less important now that I'm past them. I haven't had the accomplished life of Ms. Thomas, but it's been full enough to satisfy me to an extent. I love the short chapters, I can sit mull over one or two wi Just entering old age, but I could certainly relate to many of Ms. Thomas' observations! I enjoyed this book very much and will likely read it again as time passes. I have noticed little things matter a great deal more now that I'm older, and many of the big issues in the past, now look so much less important now that I'm past them. I haven't had the accomplished life of Ms. Thomas, but it's been full enough to satisfy me to an extent. I love the short chapters, I can sit mull over one or two with my afternoon coffee or tea! I would recommend this book for reading at any adult age, even the youngins will be here in the blink of an eye (it's an open secret, lol, that we older adults know only too well! I still feel like a 15 year old trapped in an aging body!) Well written from a very observant and articulate author. Kudos Ms. Thomas! I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I did enjoy this book.... it offers a very real, honest discussion of the positives & negatives regarding the aging process. The 87 y/o author approaches this with frank honesty, & wit...too! She touches on incontinence, death, deterioration...of the physical & mental... And she talks about a lot of positive aspects of aging...fun, free time, wealth of information & knowledge, acceptance... I really liked her viewpoints on all of it.....as a 60 y/o nurse that works with a lot of elderly people, I did enjoy this book.... it offers a very real, honest discussion of the positives & negatives regarding the aging process. The 87 y/o author approaches this with frank honesty, & wit...too! She touches on incontinence, death, deterioration...of the physical & mental... And she talks about a lot of positive aspects of aging...fun, free time, wealth of information & knowledge, acceptance... I really liked her viewpoints on all of it.....as a 60 y/o nurse that works with a lot of elderly people, I can relate to many aspects mentioned... She is spot on! This is a book for all ages tho, & it's really readable too....a rather fun read, considering the topic! (My actual rating might be 3.5 stars!) I received this e-ARC from the publisher Harper Collins/HarperOne via NetGalley, in return for reading it & offering to post my own fair/honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, an 87-year-old mother, grandmother, and noted naturalist and anthropologist, has a huge reservoir of life experiences to draw from and she puts them to good use in her lastest book on aging. Someone once said "Growing old isn't for sissies!" and there's truth to that. Growing old can be hard (and hard to accept) for many reasons, and Thomas deals with many of them. Her writing is observational, quirky, direct and at times laugh-out-loud funny. She is a truth-teller, and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, an 87-year-old mother, grandmother, and noted naturalist and anthropologist, has a huge reservoir of life experiences to draw from and she puts them to good use in her lastest book on aging. Someone once said "Growing old isn't for sissies!" and there's truth to that. Growing old can be hard (and hard to accept) for many reasons, and Thomas deals with many of them. Her writing is observational, quirky, direct and at times laugh-out-loud funny. She is a truth-teller, and I admire that. I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. I give it 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars. My thanks to NetGalley and HarperOne for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions stated here are my own.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    This book was not what I expected, but I did find it interesting. I expected a guide on managing aging and what to expect. This was mainly an author’s life experiences sprinkled with opinions and a bit of advice. It read like blog articles or essays combined to create a book. The 87 year old author did lead a fascinating life. Her tips on planning for senior living and burial/cremation were thought-provoking. Reading this may help me better understand my mother and mother-in-law and the challenge This book was not what I expected, but I did find it interesting. I expected a guide on managing aging and what to expect. This was mainly an author’s life experiences sprinkled with opinions and a bit of advice. It read like blog articles or essays combined to create a book. The 87 year old author did lead a fascinating life. Her tips on planning for senior living and burial/cremation were thought-provoking. Reading this may help me better understand my mother and mother-in-law and the challenges they face. It will also encourage me to care for myself and make preparations for how I hope to live out my final years. 3.5 stars. Thank you to Harper Collins Publishing and NetGalley for this eARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    Growing Old by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late March. Marshall Thomas is chatty, talking around, then through a subject, like meeting a family member at a reunion that you haven’t seen in years, then, when you chat them up and ask what they’re doing and they respond with a full 360-degree eye roll, and respond with this book. It's vignettes of her life, memories that reach up to the surface about death and mortality, memorializing the dead, living in a comm Growing Old by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late March. Marshall Thomas is chatty, talking around, then through a subject, like meeting a family member at a reunion that you haven’t seen in years, then, when you chat them up and ask what they’re doing and they respond with a full 360-degree eye roll, and respond with this book. It's vignettes of her life, memories that reach up to the surface about death and mortality, memorializing the dead, living in a community, yet being alone; having more time, more things, but, sometimes, less people; confusion toward modern culture, being physically and emotionally careful; and time being an odd, relative spectrum.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carol Custer

    The author's age - 86 - gives her the authority to write about a subject many people don't want to talk about - age and dying. Thomas writes with honesty, candor, and humor about the good and bad parts of aging and though I didn't always agree with her ideas, she seems to have given them a great deal of thought. She gives some valuable information on retirement living communities, nursing homes, burial or cremation decisions, etc. She's obviously led a remarkable life and I won't be surprised to The author's age - 86 - gives her the authority to write about a subject many people don't want to talk about - age and dying. Thomas writes with honesty, candor, and humor about the good and bad parts of aging and though I didn't always agree with her ideas, she seems to have given them a great deal of thought. She gives some valuable information on retirement living communities, nursing homes, burial or cremation decisions, etc. She's obviously led a remarkable life and I won't be surprised to hear of her living to be over 100. I was disappointed she threw in occasional political jabs which I thought were unnecessary and distracting; but overall, I thought the book was excellent.

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