4 out of 4 stars
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Our Autumn Years, Not Golden But Interesting is a cartoon book that illustrates the challenges of aging. With a rich blend of humor and sarcasm, which eases the panic that often comes with talks of getting old, this book lays bare the coping mechanisms of 'downhillers'. This, I believe, is not to make a joke of the predicament of the elderly, but to ease the reading of this heavyweight topic. The book is divided into seven chapters, and each chapter illustrates one aspect of aging such as, living with an old brain, coping with younger people, health, and the likes of such. Cartoons, commentaries, and quotes are employed to drive home the message of this book.
Our Autumn Years, Not Golden But Interesting shows that there is so much "novelty, relatability, and humor in the way that the elderly cope," and that they deserve attention and respect, not pity. The book also makes a satire of the attitudes of young people and medical practitioners towards the old.
In the first chapter, Coping with Decline, an old man, stooped over his walking stick, laments, " I wish I could be what I was when I resented what I was." Another, with a victory smile plastered on his face, says to his also-aged mother, "...made it all the way around the block." Statements like this made me realize the humbling reality of being old, and how small things (that would pass as 'normal' activities), like walking, begin to mean more, while the big things, like setting world records, mean next to nothing. A particularly funny commentary on the cartoon of a frantic old man read, "To hell with the secrets of the universe! Where are my damn glasses!"
Still on the challenges of the aged, in another chapter, Life with an Old Brain, one quote goes, "My memory isn't that bad if you ignore the 48 hour delay," and the commentary on a cartoon reads, "If I don't write it down, it never happened." These statements cracked me up, but I didn't fail to get the message in them, the not-so-easy reality of the elderly. This book had me imagining what my latter years would be like, and in a way, it gave me the courage to not dread that time, but to accept the inevitable with a lighter spirit.
The most remarkable feature of this book was the illustration, it was the highlight of the book. I can't find the perfect words to express how artistic and fitting it was. The artists of this masterpiece, Aleksandar Jovic, Mike Wolfe, and Heroud Ramos did an impressive cartooning. The author, Arthur Hartz, was thoughtful in coming up with this creative piece. I'm curious to check out his other cartoon books. This book deserves nothing short of 4 out of 4 stars. I noticed only a few punctuation errors (especially in the characters' speech), but the formatting was perfect, so I believe it was professionally edited. My only complaint about this book is its tiny font size. One would have expected that a book that was written for, and about the elderly would have large and legible fonts, but the opposite was the case here. I had to tilt my device horizontally before I could make out the wordings of this book. Besides this, my reading was sweet and smooth.
I recommend this book to old and young alike. It makes for an entertaining but educating read. I think it's a necessary book for all. The book contains a few profanities and sexual allusions, so I do not recommend it to children. Besides, I doubt children would fully appreciate this book.
Our Autumn Years
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