The Lioness in Winter : Writing an Old Woman's Life
Overview - When she started working with the aged more than forty years ago, Ann Burack-Weiss began storing the knowledge and skills she thought would help when she got old herself. It was not until she hit her mid-seventies that she realized she had packed sneakers to climb Mount Everest, not anticipating the crevices and chasms that constitute the rocky terrain of old age. Read more...
More About The Lioness in Winter by Ann Burack-Weiss
When she started working with the aged more than forty years ago, Ann Burack-Weiss began storing the knowledge and skills she thought would help when she got old herself. It was not until she hit her mid-seventies that she realized she had packed sneakers to climb Mount Everest, not anticipating the crevices and chasms that constitute the rocky terrain of old age. The professional gerontological and social work literature offered little help, so she turned to the late-life works of beloved women authors who had bravely climbed the mountain and sent back news from the summit. Maya Angelou, Colette, Simone de Beauvoir, Joan Didion, Marguerite Duras, M. F. K. Fisher, Doris Lessing, Mary Oliver, Adrienne Rich, May Sarton, and Florida Scott-Maxwell were among the many guides she turned to for inspiration.
In The Lioness in Winter
, Burack-Weiss blends an analysis of key writings from these and other famed women authors with her own wisdom to create an essential companion for older women and those who care for them. She fearlessly examines issues such as living with loss, finding comfort and joy in unexpected places, and facing disability and death. This book is filled with powerful passages from women who turned their experiences of aging into art, and Burack-Weiss ties their words to her own struggles and epiphanies, framing their collective observations with key insights from social work practice.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Burack-Weiss, a social worker specializing in working with the elderly, weaves writings from key female authors into this stirring and enlightening reflection on women and aging. The author chose her profession, she now recognizes, due to her own fear of aging, “shoring up resources of information and insight to sustain me when I became one of them.” Here, she turns to favorite writers, such as Maya Angelou, Joan Didion, and Marguerite Duras, who have “grown old in print,” calling them “my Lionesses. ” The themes she finds in their work include society’s lack of interest in “old” women and the conflict between mothers and daughters. The excerpted writings also reveal a wide range in responses to the aging process, from May Sarton’s sense of being surrounded by “loving kindness” to Marilyn French’s rage at dependency. Burack-Weiss writes frankly and eloquently about the difficulties of growing older, observing that “the threads that united the fragments of my personality into a coherent whole, a recognizable self, have grown slack” and left “bits and pieces of who I was to cobble together who I will now be.” Filled with warmth, wisdom, and knowledge, Burack-Weiss’s work eloquently encourages dialogue and understanding about the inner and outer life of aging women. (Oct.)