We asked our Facebook fans to review books discussing the onset of middle age and how to tackle it. Our second review is of India Knight's 'In Your Prime' written by Marian Pettitt – thanks again Marian for sending it in!
“I prefer forty-eight, and how....I'm kinder, wiser, more patient, less judgemental. These are all improvements. Still it's weird."
This is the introduction of 'In Your Prime’ by India Knight and it’s exactly how I feel. I did a ‘yep me too’, nodding of head. I really enjoyed the book, especially its style - it reminded me of a ‘guide to growing up’ book I had when I was fifteen.
India Knight tells you what she thinks, no apologies, like a rather bossy friend who is a laugh and talks about everything over a few glasses of wine. She covers topics from beauty to ailing parents and even the menopause with humour and honesty. In some sections I was laughing my head off, in other sections shaking my head at her smugness, but I enjoyed it all.
At times it can seem ‘fluff’, talking about what eyeliner to use, but then in another section India discusses how Jenny Joseph's poem 'Warning, When I am Old' is still the go-to rebellion poem for middle-age women: "Actually the poem is completely antiquated. Do wear purple....wear purple ass-less chaps, for all we care.....it does go to show how we are stuck with this notion: say old woman and we think of a poem written over fifty years ago as the only antidote to the granny-at-the-Aga image”
The book is a mixture of practical advice, light topics - just as important in my opinion - such as make-up, mutton dressing, fun tights, and deeper topics such as looking after dying parents, marriage, dating, loneliness and the menopause. I'm still not convinced that in her section on what to wear that “leopard (print) is a neutral” or “black looks absolutely awful on almost everyone” but I will definitely look after my teeth more: “Nothing is as ageing as having rubbish teeth” and my feet: “Do you want to condemn yourself to twenty years of hideous, orthopaedic shoes? No”.
What I really enjoyed was the feeling that I got from the book. It’s a yes, you are at a new stage of life, but go with it, yes, it's different but I feel it too. This is not an in depth look at how society sees middle-aged women or how we are made to feel less useful because we have grey hair and few wrinkles. It’s a book which will make you feel better about it. We are bombarded with horror stories about the menopause and images of twenty somethings - we are constantly being told we need to look younger and be younger. However, 'In your Prime’ is the book equivalent of saying whatever to all the negative connotations and having a laugh with a friend about everything that comes with being ‘middle-aged’.
If you want to read ‘In Your Prime’ by India Knight, you can buy it here. Keep an eye out for our next review of The Invisible Woman by Helen Walmsley-Johnson.