A witty and original look at ageing.
Something in our world is changing. In ten years time 60% of us will be over 55. The retirement age is likely to move up to 70; modern medicine ensures that most of us will live well in to our 80s and most of us will choose to do some work, paid or voluntary, while we are still physically able. Yet older people have, as yet, no role in modern society. Old age is regarded as an inconvenience, something to be shunned and set apart from our daily lives.
In this frank, often funny and always compelling disquisition on ageing, Irma Kurtz sets out to chart the territory through her own and others' experiences. Along the way she meets a diverse group of people whose insights into their own lives have much to offer a younger generation - from a 90-year-old weekly columnist and a vicar still working in his mid-70s to The Good Granny Guide's Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall and 'London's Rudest Landlord', Normal Balon of the celebrated Coach and Horses.
Kurtz is a fearless investigator of the art of growing old - its pleasures and its griefs - carrying with her the only tool that sharpens with age: lifelong curiosity.
Irma Kurtz, a veteran journalist, writer and London resident since 1970, is not going gently into that good night of the Third Age ... she tells not only her own story but has also drafted the likes of super-granny Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, the mouthy publican Norman Balon ... to say what, besides cheerfulness and bloody-mindedness, keeps them going. Excelsior! - Iain Finlayson, The Times
This is by no means a mean-spirited rant -- it's a clever deconstruction of everything that has mattered to her and to most of us -- friendship, family, the struggle to improve, to look good, be well liked -- seen from her feisty, hard-fought outpost - Kerry Fowler, Good Housekeeping
Her memoir veers between beady anecdote and a ruminative melancholy ... she is wonderful on the unexpected gains of old age ... a valuable contribution to the emerging literature of the third age - Guardian
Kurtz brings humour to the subject ... Kurtz intersperses her own experiences with messages from people whose insights add much to the book's values ... and the way she captures their voices is as impressive as the way she preserves her own - Diana Athill, Mail on Sunday
Be warned, Kurtz refusing to take getting old quietly is just the beginning - Sunday Times
She successfully demolishes common notions of an enfeebled generation, while also celebrating the easily recognisable benefits: grandchildren, cruises, lifelong friendships ... a cheerful and animated guide to what the French elegantly term 'the third age" - Time Out
An intriguing account ... all is interspersed with the fascinating musings of aged acquaintances ... this is an informative, albeit gently paced, read about the joys and misfortunes of growing oold, enlivened by Kurtz's sharp wit and insight - She Magazine
Irma Kurtz is thoughtful and funny - Choice Magazine