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Having read a review of this book in the Wall Street Journal and being a Boomer, I looked forward to reading this book. The effusive preface only heightened that feeling. Having now sat through it, my advice is simple: Skip it. The best virtue of this book is that it is mercifully short.
Harsh, I know. But here's why:
1. Kinsley says the book is not supposed to be about Parkinson's disease, which he has unfortunately had for years. But it is. Most of the book (at least half) is about Parkinson's disease, and most of that part is about Kinsley.
2. Kinsley says the book is supposed to be about the Baby Boom generation. But it is mostly not. It is about Kinsley. Other reviews refer to the book as narcissistic and self-absorbed. Boy is that true. I've rarely read anything that is this much about me (well, him).
3. The book is apparently based largely on earlier columns. As such, the book is disjointed. Facts and items are repeated. The book needs a good independent editing.
4. The book does not work as a book. It would probably work as two essays: One on Kinsey's thoughts on coping with Parkinson's and one on his general thoughts on the Baby Boom generation.
5. As the book went on, I found myself liking Kinsley less and less. He writes from the viewpoint of an educated, well-to-do male who is quite convinced of the great value of what he has to say. The word smug comes to mind. He seems to assume that everyone in the Baby Boom generation is cut from the same cloth as he is. He apparently has no clue--none whatsoever--about the middle class and lower. He talks about the Baby Boomers paying off the national debt when a huge percentage has nothing saved for retirement, and more only a pittance.
This book is not worth the time, short as it is.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Michael Kinsley and/or Danny Campbell?
No, I would prefer to read his articles. Seven chapters of Mr. Kinsley is worse than a root canal work.
Has Old Age turned you off from other books in this genre?
No, it has stimulated me to write one
What three words best describe Danny Campbell’s performance?
What character would you cut from Old Age?
Any additional comments?
I'm 72 y/o with PD (Non-motor, cognitive impairment type). Kinsley's book was redundant, statistical, and non-informative. It is obvious that Mr. Kinsley has a chip on his shoulder, an obsession with death and an overweening need for self-glorification. The book has little to do with "old age" and more to do with the United States' illusion of grandeur and vindication of baby boomers. Mike, you are journalist not a novelist. Relax and enjoy the sun of Vail and quietly fade into the sunset without dragging us with you.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful