Book Review – Go Set a Watchman

 

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Last year I set myself a goal to read 52 books. Well – I must admit that I didn’t quite make it. I was pleased with the 32 I had read and reassured myself that it was a reasonable effort for this Baby Boomer, given all that was going on with my health in 2015. My goal is the same this year. 52 books here I come. I am determined to do it this time!

So to my review of Book 32…..

With all the hype surrounding the release of Go Set a Watchman, I had mixed emotions on opening my Christmas present hardback with the deep red cover. Never being one to shy away from a literary challenge, the anticipation got the better of me and I dived right in! But I made one mistake….

I realised that it was many years since I had immersed myself in one of my fave books ever – To Kill a Mockingbird. To complete the experience, I decided to refresh my mind with the original, much lauded tome and yes, yet again it affected me. With a vague mix of excitement and anticipation (read trepidation) I launched into the ‘sequel’.

Things started well and though I did not feel that the follow up book based on Harper Lee’s notes, rang as true as Lee’s original voice, I was soon further disillusioned when a large paragraph, equivalent to almost a page, was pretty much lifted word for word from To Kill a Mockingbird.

Yes, I know that there needed to be some backtracking for those who did not read the original. Yes, I know that some critics claimed that it was acceptable as a new work in its own right. But, for me – the repetition was grating, the voice too thin and some important characters were only alluded to throughout its pages. I was disappointed!

However….the further I got into the book, the more I was appeased. For Scout fans, the precocious child is now a precocious woman, who hasn’t quite found her place in the world. When she revisits the town of her youth, things have changed. Is the South that she knew gone forever? And what does Atticus Finch do to cause her to consider leaving them behind for ever?

The only thing is to pick up a volume and find out.

I rate it 3 out of 5. Worth a look.

PS I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts.

 

 

2015 Be Gone. It’s the New Year..

 

 

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The winds of change have been a constant theme for my family this year… and surprisingly, have not caused the angst that usually accompanies big diversions away from the norm.

I heard today on the local Brisbane News that 100,000 people will be at South bank for New Years Eve. Numbers are down. The terrorism threat level is ‘Probable’.  What does that even mean? These days,  I can’t think of anything worse than being in a crowd of 100,000 tonight. A crowd of 3 will do for me!

This year I have changed considerably. I have let go of a lot of ‘the old me’, (aka ‘the young me’) and sought: solitude over crowds, silence over talking and familiar over strange. I have calmed down and actually not fought or even mourned the loss of my previous life, but reminisced about it often and smiled.

The professional person,  the Audiologist, the Rehab Counsellor, the Psychologist in me has retired. The incessant traveller and adventurer has not been overly bothered by not leaving my own State all year. The parent is enjoying her girls beautiful transformation into a loving, kind,’sort of’ independent woman, slowly amassing skills in housework, cooking and driving.

Funnily enough,  I look at the world on the eve of 2016 and don’t recognise the world I grew up in anymore. People don’t care as much, acquisitiveness and anti-Islamic sentiment are rife and terrorism is a reality, but I feel more empathy for myself and less stress about being me than I ever have. And it’s a good thing.

I am tempted to say that I am wiser, but think I should downgrade the term to more ‘even-handed’. I can understand your position and agree to disagree on issues. If you don’t like it, thats your problem.

So here’s to 2016 – the leap year, the Olympics and my 53rd year of life.

Watch this space for more Baby Boomer tips, fun, insight and book reviews.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 730 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Revisiting The Baby Boomer Death Counter and other Baby Boomer Haters

Well, welll, well! Two years ago, I started this blog after reading about a number of Baby Boomer haters out there in cyberspace. The infamous Baby Boomer Death Counter has been shut down and comments have prompted me to investigate further.

Here is what I found:

http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=3865

Who produced this macabre counter?

James Love, an Internet publisher, satirist and writer.

He created this web site spur discussion regarding the mortality of the Baby Boom generation. Much is written of accomplishments, attitudes, consumer patterns, but little is written about the curtain closing on this large generation. He created the counter to spur/provoke this discussion.

On a Generation Dying Well
by James Love

We, the baby boom generation, were a burst of life just after the Second World War. Hospital wards bustled with little bundles, new suburbs were put to pavement, and schools popped up across North America. It was as if a new age of humanity was upon us and indeed some declared that the Age of Aquarius had begun.

A few decades later, as the first of the boomers turn 60 and the last of the boomers mid-sections have joined the great collective expanse an existential reality remains for which we seem to be avoiding. Sure, we know of “so and so” that got cancer, and how “such and such’s” wife died of a heart condition. We know intellectually that with each day the wheel of time seems to spin faster and we occasionally hear the bony footsteps of the Grim Reaper shuffling behind us. For all our bombastic youthful chutzpa, our collective fear of death seems out of place for us. We close our eyes and whistle in the dark; looking at the slow click of the clock and realizing each day that its “click, click, click” is speeding up.

I don’t intend to be overly unkind when I say that I find this collective fear amusing. Individually, I’ve held the hand of numerous dying folks and understand the personal pain and emotional suffering around death. That is not funny, although many people do find humour in their own dying. I must however confess a certain schadenfreude as I witness the death of the Baby Boomers as a whole. It’s the fall of the false-pride of our generation that seems to be the source of it. Yes, older boomers try to hold back time with tucks, sucks, and spending big bucks, but let’s face it, we’re not young any more and we never will be. That horror we experienced a couple years ago when we looked in the mirror and cried out “Oh my goodness, I – look – like – my – Dad/Mom”, is soon to be replaced with the shock of looking like our grandparents! Know this to be true; the first grey hair “down there” has been an existential crisis for many a boomer. And of course, the Age of Aquarius in the 1960’s gave way to the sexual license of the 70’s and the Barbarous 80’s. I don’t know what to call the 1990’s other than a handful of years until the Gulf War Decade (lets hope its a decade). For all our youthful pride, we ended up faced with the daunting struggles that every generation has to deal with given the complexity of the human situation and the tenacity of evil.

I do have hope however that the introspective side of our generation will win out over our narcissism. Old people can be powerful people; for good or for evil. We’ve known that all our lives; don’t trust anyone over 30 and all that stuff. Old people can be powerful because collectively they have money, experience, and have been around long enough to know how the system works; or dare I say it, how to work within the system! If you don’t believe me, just ask any congressman whether he wants to make the American Association of Retired Persons angry at him! We’re going to have a different kind of power as old folks, and I hope we use it well. If the excessive pride of our youth has run its course towards an excess of humility in old age, I suspect our generation will show itself as one of the most powerful in remedying a few of the great evils of our time. I’ve discovered in my few short years on this earth, that the widows penny is worth far more than the pontificating of a soul empty of good deeds.

Sure, there will be a period coming where all we baby boomers will talk about is our coming deaths, but once the great collective narcissistic lament is finished, I hope we’ll move on to being great old people. Yes, we’re going to be dead like every other generation, however it is my hope that we won’t just die like any other generation. It is my hope that we will spend our last years well and will be remembered as a truly great generation and a burst of positive human energy that will be felt for generations to come.

PS  There are even more Baby Boomer hate sites than in 2013. Let’s emphasise the positive and leave the ‘Die Boomer Die’ set to worry about why they are spending so much energy on denigrating us. In the words of Taylor Swift, “Haters gonna hate,hate,hate,hate,hate. Shake it off. Shake it off! Sorry I couldn’t resist!