Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher
eBook review copy; 272 pages
Women Rowing North: Navigating Life's Currents and Flourishing As We Age by Mary Pipher is a highly recommended examination of the issues facing aging women.
Pipher tackles the cultural, personal, social, and developmental
issues and challenges women face as they age and explores ways women can
cultivate happiness through their responses. She shares stories from
women in a variety of circumstances, backgrounds, and economic
circumstances, and demonstrates how their struggles result in them
becoming authentic, empathetic, and wise people. The summary of her
encouraging advice is that happiness is a choice and skill set you can develop as you live a life of authenticity, gratitude, and adapting
In Women Rowing North Pipher doesn't shy away from the
problems older women face, including health issues, ageism, loneliness,
misogyny, lookism, caregiving, and loss. She notes that: "Old women in
America suffer a social disease. For us, ageism may be an even more
serious challenge than aging." She offers practical advice and
suggestions as she shares the stories of the various women interviewed
and featured along with her own personal journey in the book. She purposes that: "One of the great gifts of our later years is the possibility of
authenticity....which comes from growing out of fears into wholeness."
She divides the book into three sections. The first section deals
with the challenges that may face aging women. The second discusses the
skills women need to navigate aging, with the ability to adapt being
pivotal. The third section discusses the importance of relationships.
Pipher realistically points out that, "We do not need to like all of our family members. Who does? Especially
as we get older, we can select the people who we want to consider as
family....No matter what our
families are like or how difficult people are to get along with, we can
almost always find at least one person to love."
Pipher has a calm, affirming writing style and this book should have a
wide appeal to women approaching or in their sixties and beyond. While her advice won't apply to every aging woman, it does provide a
platform for individuals to chart their own course, set boundaries, confront obstacles, and make their way
through this time of life. "We can set priorities and separate the
essential from the nonessential.
We can ask, 'Am I spending my time in accordance with my values?'...
Each of us has the freedom to
decide what is essential."
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Bloomsbury via Netgalley.