The guide functions as a self-help/workbook fusion, with moments for guided reflection at the end of each chapter. Those introspective prompts are invaluable, as Roberts asks readers to contemplate a host of topics, ranging from the fear of losing youthful attractiveness to cultivating their small, inner voice as a life guide. In seeking new paths, Roberts contends that old identities must fall by the wayside to allow maturing women to experience a fresh way of being—essentially becoming “pilgrims without a home.” Roberts contends that the start of women’s blossoming comes when they learn to ask less of themselves in favor of discovering more about their true nature.
Though the book is aimed primarily at women, Roberts offers all readers indispensable advice on aging. Elders possess a distinct, priceless gift, she writes: they’re the storytellers, awash with wisdom and “the memories of what happened before.” She shares interviews of different women to illustrate the lessons they learned along the way and leaves readers with her own sage advice, both stating directly and demonstrating through her life and work that “becoming an elder is a dynamic process that both redefines one’s sense of self and requires an open acceptance of change.”
Takeaway: An inspiring celebration of aging, discovery, and acceptance of change for women.
Comparable Titles: Carla Marie Manly’s Aging Joyfully, Rosanne M. Leipzig’s Honest Aging.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
Roberts can inspire, and questions she proposes at each chapter’s end provide stirring calls to action (ex: “What are you afraid of losing? Describe the ambivalence you are experiencing over giving up the life you have known…”). She chose a fascinating group of women with varied life challenges and talents ranging from advocacy for the homeless to professional photographer; readers can find themselves somewhere in that group . . . older women looking for a route to blossoming anew will find rewards in these pages.
If only one book on women's aging were to be selected for a library collection, it should be The Blossoming of Women: A Workbook on Growing from Older to Elder. Filled with inspirational and educational opportunities, it promotes a different vision of elder years and retirement that translates not to retiring from life, but entering into another phase of efficiency and meaningful thoughts, actions, and choices. Beautiful nature images throughout support the gentle feel and uplifting spirit of these stories.
Karen Roberts’s encouraging self-help book The Blossoming of Women is about passing on one’s wisdom and making a difference in one’s community late in life. This book is written for women who are at least in their sixties, who may no longer have the responsibilities of caring for children, elderly parents, or spouses and who are ready to make the transition from just growing older to becoming an elder.
The bulk of the book features the stories of women who have taken on the roles of elders in their communities, helping others through callings such as using music to heal and comfort, working as a death doula, supporting the homeless, and using art to document the beauty and wisdom of people’s lives. They represent a wide variety of experiences; they are inspirational and instructive, illustrating the possibility of finding new directions late in life. And they serve as guides, modelling change-making.
The Blossoming of Women is a thoughtful and generous self-help guide for women facing late-life changes; it suggests means of writing one’s own robust, fruitful final chapter. --Foreword Clarion Reviews