3 out of 4 stars
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I do not have the experience of taking care of those in their golden years. I lost my parents in the space of two years, they were in their sixties, still strong and going about their businesses. I cannot stand it when I see old people doing odd jobs – you get to see that a lot in my country – I feel like collapsing, though some of them can be so annoying. These are some of the issues Arthur Hartz talks about in Our Autumn Years. If I were to rename the book, I would call it “Why Old People Act the Way They do.”
As a young person, one is filled with so much energy and the mindset that you can do anything you want, at any time and quickly. Some young people do not give thought to what it feels like to be old, I doubt if I have thought about it either and that is why many young people treat older people pitiably. You mostly hear teenagers say in a frustrated way, “common grandma. You can do better than this!" But “can” she? What happened to her “can”? She grew old.
Arthur did a great job with this book. Using beautiful drawings and short writings, he talked about the beauty and challenges of growing old such as being seen as stupid for not remembering why you are in the kitchen. It is not something everyone talks about, but someone has to. Reading the book, I laughed and also thought hard at the same time. It reminded me that aging is a must for everyone and that includes me. Young people may think that they have got it all figured out – to the frustration of old and wiser ones – and tend to discard the advice of the old ones.
It’s a short book that mostly has drawings. I must commend the illustrators. Hartz worked with three illustrators who brought the book to life. Looking at the drawings gives you an idea of the message the author is trying to pass across. For example, the drawing of “what falls to the ground stays on the ground” shows that due to waist pain that comes with aging, they may not be able to bend and pick things from the floor.
The author wanted to show what it feels like to be old and aging. Also, those in their golden years should be respected and not pitied. Love them, help them, show them you care genuinely, and not in the patronizing way many of us do.
Not many people would enjoy the book because not everyone has the patience to decode meanings from drawings. While reading the book, I had to pause and try to think of what lesson the drawing is passing across. I also had to skip some of them when I could not make sense of them. That could be due to my inexperience with grannies or my cultural background. I found no typographical errors and no grammatical errors. The book was also professionally edited.
I would rate Our Autumn Years three out of four stars due to the reasons I mentioned above. There were no profanities or sexual scenes. So, I recommend this book to people of all ages and caregivers.
Our Autumn Years
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