Nearing Ninety

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The phenomenon of being able to write for children and adults equally well amazes me. Many of you know Judith Viorst for her classic picture book Alexander’s No Good, Very Bad Day and maybe still think about it when you have that kind of day at the age you are now. At the same time, Judith appeals to adult readers with her down-to-earth humor in a number of books, particularly those that have marked the decades of her life from It’s Hard to be Hip Over Thirty to Unexpectedly Eighty. Now she tells us in free verse what it is like to be Nearing Ninety to be published on April 2 with her wicked sense of humor intact. You don’t have to be anywhere near that age to enjoy the book.

Just a bit of her fun to prove the point: 

  •  It’s time we (she and her husband) stopped eating at restaurants where no one can hear, unless/ We go on a night we’re not talking to each other. 

  • And I’m still getting up, pulse racing, every morning/ to read the day’s verdict on my bathroom scale,/ When I really should be over this by now. 

  •  I’m past my sell-by date/ I hate to contemplate/ That soon self-driving cars will rule the road. My social network skills/ Are whatever less than nil is./ And I still can’t set my phone on airplane mode.

  • And if there should come a time when my granddaughter finds my keys in the freezer,/ That won’t necessarily mean that I’m fatally old./ Some people, I’d tell her, keep their keys in the pocket of their raincoat./ I prefer to keep my keys very cold. 

She’s having enough fun (and providing enough for her readers) to almost, but not quite, make one want to join that age group. Skip this book only if you are allergic to laughter. She’s left me wondering what her title will be for her hundredth, since she will surely have one.