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As she approached her fiftieth birthday, Tracey Jackson found herself bombarded—at the gym, at parties, in conversations with friends—by a catchphrase on everyone’s lips. “Fifty is the new thirty” and the endless magazine articles, photos, and T-shirts proclaiming the new aphorism had apparently bloomed out of a collective sense of denial, masking the true fears of a generation unwilling to relinquish their youth.
With a comedy writer’s training and a screenwriter’s eye for detail, Jackson skewers the myth in Between a Rock and a Hot Place, a hilarious, bare-knuckled, and ultimately practical appraisal of what middle age really means today. Willing not only to face the elephant in the room, but to put him under a (large) microscope, Jackson confronts the truth about death, work, and sex in what the French call the “third age,” using poignant, laugh-out-loud stories from her life. Jackson examines the changing roles of motherhood and wifehood; the necessity of planning a “career after your career”; the unvarnished reality of our aging bodies; and the generational shift in our perception of age (“Tight abs was not a phrase my grandmother had ever heard. And even if she had, her response would likely have been, Who needs that when you have a girdle?“).
Turning fifty is a wake-up call—but one that can be greeted with a plan. Recounting the changes she went through, the things she learned (and things she didn’t) en route to fifty, Between a Rock and a Hot Place navigates, with unsparing honesty and unerring wit, the confusion and uncertainty of the most significant uncharted transition in our lives.


The subtitle already had me connected with the book : Why Fifty is Not The New Thirty. While I am not a woman in my 50′s, I am a woman. And no matter what age we are at, it always seems like we should be younger. That’s what they keep telling us anyway.

Menopause is discussed greatly in this book. It is a book about turning 50 after all. And let me tell you, it is not for the squeemish. Tracey Jackson does not hold anything back. Which is good and oh so bad. She does play with the topic with some humour which makes the topic easier to read through.

One of the ideas that I liked most about this book is the 50 is still 50. It’s not 20,30 or 40. It’s 50. And while we do feel as young as our heart, that heart still have issues that may slow us down and get us to the doctor more frequently. Tracey does seem to go into extensive details about plastic surgery and how so many women are resorting to it in this youth obsessed climate. Step over the shock, and she has some great points.

Overall it’s a funny book. I enjoyed her narrative way of telling us how she dealt and continues to deal with the change her body is going through, but also liked how she underscored it with how we must take even those funny changes seriously. There were certain sections which seemed to be a “TMI” moment, but I say this as a non 50 woman. Those going through them I am sure will appreciate the honesty and openness.

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