After the death of her best friend, the loss of her life's savings, and the collapse of her once-happy marriage, Meredith Maran leaves her San Francisco freelance writer's life for a 9-to-5 job in Los Angeles. Determined to rebuild not only her savings but also herself while relishing the joys of life in La-La land, Maran writes "a poignant story, a funny story, a moving story, and above all an American story of what it means to be a woman of a certain age in our time" (Christina Baker Kline, number-one New York Times-bestselling author of Orphan Train). Praise for The New Old Me "High time we had a book that celebrates becoming an elder Meredith Maran writes of the difficulties of loss and change and aging, but makes it clear that getting on can be more interesting, more fun, and a lot more exciting than youth."--Abigail Thomas, author of the New York Times bestseller What Comes Next and How to Like It "By turns poignant and funny, the book not only shows how one feisty woman coped with a 'Plan B life' she didn't want or expect with a little help from her friends. It also celebrates how she transformed uncertainty into a glorious opportunity for continued late-life personal growth. A spirited and moving memoir about how 'it's never too late to try something new.'"--Kirkus
- ISBN-13: 9780399574139
- ISBN-10: 0399574131
- Publisher: Blue Rider Press
- Publish Date: March 2017
- Page Count: 304
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-12-19
- Reviewer: Staff
To reinvent means to change so much as to appear entirely new, but thats not what Maran (Why We Write About Ourselves) describes in this disappointing memoir. Instead,when Marans marriage to the woman of her dreams fell apart when she was 60, she moved to L.A. and set about recreating her old life. She speed-friended, she found a character-filled bungalow in Silver Lakes to replace the character-filled Victorian in Oakland, and she found new love. Other changes were cosmetic: exercise, Botox, a Brazilian. She gives short shrift to the career switch from freelance to full-time writer for an office filled with chic (and much younger) women, the kind of nightmare experience many older women would equate with lecturing sans pants. What Maran does reinvent is her own history. In earlier discussions of My Lie, her book about the sexual abuse accusations she leveled against her father when she was in her 30s and later realized were not true, Maran has said those accusations led to an eight-year silence between her and her father. Here, she makes no mention of this past, saying instead that her fathers rejection of her partner was what led to the freeze. Being a perpetually oversharing memoirist may have made it impossible for Maran to truly reinvent herself. (Mar.)
Getting better with age
Meredith Maran had been married to the woman of her dreams, living in a gentrifying Oakland, California, neighborhood and making a decent living as an author (of more than a dozen books) and freelance writer. But when her marriage slowly turned toxic and she suffered other personal and financial setbacks, Maran opted for the mother of all do-overs—moving to Los Angeles and taking a job at a clothing company where, at age 60, she became both employee and honorary mom to her younger co-workers. The New Old Me: My Late-Life Reinvention offers a bracing look at the joys and challenges of starting over as an older woman.
Maran starts out couch-surfing in L.A. and struggling to connect, but her writing career has given her a rich network of contacts that she mines like a pro for companionship and wise counsel. Once a fervent political activist, she now spends time in La-La Land supplementing companywide workout days with personal training sessions and exploring the world of nips, tucks and waxing fore and aft. Despite her hopes for reconciliation with her wife, their marriage ends in divorce and Maran begins exploring the world of online dating.
The copywriting job she moves south for borders on L.A. cliché, from nude weigh-ins with body-fat calipers to the rocket science employed to estimate driving distance from the office to anywhere else in town. These are some of the book’s funniest scenes, but the friends she makes at work become part of her tribe as well.
The observations here are sharp and witty; used to living under “the whip of freelance insecurity,” Maran awkwardly relaxes into a far better funded existence. No longer struggling to build a family, career or marriage, she delights in the freedom to have more fun, noting, “I’m not building anything anymore, except bone density if I’m lucky.”
The New Old Me is a smart, funny testament to the value of friendships old and new, and the ways they help us adapt to the inevitability of change.