Ourselves, Growing Older Summary
by Paula Brown Doress, Diana Laskin Siegal

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Ourselves, Growing Older

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

OURSELVES, GROWING OLDER is written in a “Dear Abby” style with an informal, question-answer format: An italicized paragraph (attributed to a woman identified by age only) states a problem related to aging and is followed by the authors’ explanation of why that problem occurs and what, if anything, can be done about it. The sharing of experiences is the predominant feature of the book. Even when a solution to a problem is unavailable, a person in the same predicament may find support in knowing that others share the problem. In some cases, a person may be able to avoid the difficulty by judicious replanning.

Helpful advice abounds in the book, covering such topics as sexuality, birth control, childbirth, menopause, housing, work, retirement, money, care giving, medical problems, and death, all viewed from the perspective of the older woman. Some explanations, such as why hearing loss and memory loss occur with age, or the chapter on cancer, are informative and interesting for younger readers also.

A few aspects of the book may not appeal to some readers. Drawings of female genitalia and of suggested lovemaking positions (one of which appears to involve two females) are included, as are photographs of naked women in the chapter on childbearing in midlife. The text addressed all life-styles non-judgementally, so there are portions of the book devoted to homosexuality as well as to heterosexuality.

The end of the book has a list of resources on topics related to women’s lives. Books, other publications, organizations (with statements of their purposes and addresses), audiovisual materials, and where to find products described to the text are all included in this section.