I read When Did Everybody Else Get So Old? (thanks, Handlebar, for a review copy), thinking it would be a humorous look at aging. We’re all aging, and if you can’t look at it in a lighthearted way, it can get a little heavy.
Author Jennifer Grant has written a series of essays here. Not all are about aging, but most are. There are several about the sentimentality of kids growing up (I love a quote she included by another author: “the very best thing about your life is a short stage in someone else’s story” … sigh). There are other essays about couples who appeared perfect but — no surprise here — ended up divorced. Essays about friends and family who died too soon. Witty phrases: “It takes a lifetime of struggle to get used to who you are.” On-point observations: she recounts what a bummer it was when grocery store baggers switched over from calling her “miss” to “ma’am.”
There were a few times when an editor was called for — “pour” over old photographs (yikes, imagine the damage!), “can also can fool us.”
Grant has several scriptural references, notably from Ecclesiastes, and I enjoyed those comments on aging and on life in general. She mentions that she is Episcopalian, and I was really surprised as she went through several of her beliefs. She references “marriage equality,” “institutional racism,” “police officers … (who) shot and killed African American men, again and again,” “Father God or Mother God.” She also mentions that while in prayer she once “confessed being American … I didn’t ask to be born here” and also goes on about her belief that “all humankind” will end up reconciled to God and in heaven. She speaks of neighbors who were turned off to Christianity by their “very religious Christian neighbors” who didn’t recycle. Oh my. It’s just interesting to note how widely divergent views are out there among those who claim the title Christian.
So, overall, I wouldn’t pick this book up if you’re looking for something humorous. But if you’d like to read a series of essays on the passage of time, and you don’t mind a left-leaning slant, you may enjoy “When Did Everybody Else Get So Old?”