Monday, February 25, 2013

Between a rock and a hot place: Why fifty is not the new thirty

Between a rock and a hot place: Why fifty is not the new thirty
By Tracey Jackson

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I confess: I have absolutely no idea why I picked up this book to read except that I liked the title, I love diversity, and I thought it might have something interesting to say. I wasn’t wrong!

There are no notes, references, bibliography, additional resources, or anything here except the author, Tracey Jackson — and I assure you, there is a lot of her. I can certainly see how some readers may feel that she’s a little self-centered, selfish, and egotistical. Some readers might even say, A LITTLE???? But, I found all of it amusing, charming, and even delightful. After all, this is HER book ---- give her a break!

Jackson isn’t telling readers how to handle turning fifty. She is telling you how SHE handled it and how fifty — from HER experience — is not the new thirty. I am a reader who enjoys looking into the lives of others. I have always enjoyed rides on airplanes, waiting in hospital waiting rooms, or other opportunities (online?) where people open up and spill their guts. Why? Because it gives you such insight into human behavior.

What I really appreciated was Jackson’s sense of humor. She is very, very funny, and because she is such a terrific writer, it seems the humor just spills forth naturally and easily. Whether you like her lifestyle, understand her values, or think she is just a "high-strung Jew," doesn’t matter. Set all of that aside, and just enjoy her writing. She is a fine storyteller, and her examples will hold your attention.

Susan M. Andrus, of Story Circle Book Reviews (they review books about women), in her review at, shared this incredibly apt insight: "But in addition to humor, Jackson nags, whines, cajoles, lectures, and scolds, wanting us to understand her struggles upon reaching the young, old age of fifty and to learn how to care for ourselves when we find ourselves facing that milestone."

Another thing I loved about this book is Jackson’s transparency. She just lets it all hang out there — sharing her feelings about everything that is or has touched her life in some way. It is her honesty about her body, background, family, and experiences that make this such a fascinating read. There is some information here with which every reader — man or woman — will identify. Of course it is especially designed for women from the ages 45 to 60, but men in that age range will benefit as well. Jackson just gives you such a deep and heartfelt appreciation about the human condition.

I thought one of the best parts of the book was Jackson’s explanation of the many ways that women of fifty are discriminated against — not just in the workplace and trying to secure a job, but also in trying to find a partner and in other areas of life, too. She is just so forthright and direct — and on target! It doesn’t matter how successful you are, how much background experience you have, who you know, or how beautiful you may be, everything changes when you turn fifty — and Jackson chronicles much of it — and does it well! She doesn’t just do it well, she does it with a terrific attitude and wonderful sense of humor.

Helena Wallace, at, had this to say about Jackson, and I agree with every word: "Apart from its relevance and usefulness, the book is a great read. Jackson's funny, interesting, likable and her writing is tight, intelligent and entertaining." If you want to know why fifty is not the new thirty, this is a useful, instructive book, but if you just enjoy a great read, this book is even better!

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