Judith Viorst is known and loved by readers of all ages, for children's books such as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; nonfiction titles, including the bestseller Necessary Losses; and her collections of humorous poetry, which make perfect gifts for birthdays, Mother's Day, graduation, Christmas, Chanukah, or at any time of year.
Now Judith Viorst looks at what it's like to be (gulp) fifty.
Writing with the warmth and authenticity that have become her trademarks, Viorst once again demonstrates her uncanny ability to transform our daily realities into poems that make us laugh with recognition. Whether her subject is the decline of the body ("It's hard to be devil-may-care/When there are pleats in your derrière") or future aspirations ("Before I go, I'd like to have high cheekbones./I'd like to talk less like New Jersey, and more like Claire Bloom"), she always speaks directly to our condition. Her funny, compassionate poems shed a reassuring light on the fine art of aging, and will delight anyone who is now (or forever) fifty.
In her seventh collection of verse homilies the prolific Viorst ( How Did I Get to Be Forty and Other Atrocities ) offers mild-mannered complaints about and righteous jubilation in honor of aging--specifically, turning 50. ``No, I'm not ashamed of my age,'' she declares, observing that maturity brings wisdom, though various vexations (``Face lift, or no face lift--that is the question'') follow close behind. Interspersed with her gripes is commonsensical advice: when youthful ``fantasies of magic and of mystery'' prove impractical, a spirit of compromise (the ``sweet pleasures of an ordinary life'') will come in handy. Though displaying her knack for penning advice columns in a conversational verse form, Viorst is not a poet, either major or minor: her lackadaisical, thudding rhymes and metrics owe more to the prosaic rhythms of coffee-break chitchat than to the sprightly, simple domestic music of traditional American-made doggerel. Literary Guild alternate.