Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial
By Nicole Hollander
(Broadway Books, Hardcover, 9780767926539, 272pp.)
Publication Date: September 18, 2007
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One of America’s funniest women asks, “If sixty is the new fifty, when do I get to be thirty again?”
Nicole Hollander grew up in the nineteen-fifties, when women of a certain age put on weight, got a really tight perm, and rode the backs of their house slippers into the ground. Oh, for those uncomplicated good old days. Today, your fifties and sixties are deemed your most creative years—you can’t lie around like a slug unless you suddenly want to be seventy with nothing to show for it. Luckily, in Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial, Nicole, creator of the beloved Sylvia comic strip and one of the pioneers of the genre of humor about women and their cats, guides us through the important decisions that come in one’s mature years: Accept the senior citizen discount or feign indignation? Get plastic surgery or just a really good haircut?
Nicole applies her ironic wit to such topics as whether to lobby Harry Winston for a foundation to provide chauffeur-driven cars and diamonds to women over fifty or instead focus on finding a château to buy in France and turning it into the first nail spa in the Loire Valley or perhaps a shelter for French strays. She tackles a range of female obsessions: men, friendship, beauty, money, weight, and a few peculiar obsessions of her own, such as researching loft-size mausoleums with huge mobile homes your family can stay in when they come to lay flowers or angry notes on your grave, the very latest thing in burial arrangements.
With wicked humor and fantastic riffs that take you places you never expected to go, Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial is like Nicole’s idea of heaven: tiny cupcakes served continuously.
NICOLE HOLLANDER is the creator of Sylvia, a nationally syndicated comic strip that appears in major newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, and the Seattle Times. She is a popular speaker who recently launched a career as a monologist to further her twin desires to speak in public and get paid for it. In 2006 she had several one-woman performances in Chicago. She has published sixteen collections of Sylvia strips, as well as Female Problems and My Cat’s Not Fat, He’s Just Big Boned.
“Nicole Hollander has hit the nail on the head—or rather, the high heel on the spike. Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial is wry, filled with the hallmark Hollander wit, and ultimately, profoundly moving. Everyone who wrestles with changing perspectives on families, friends, and their own unpredictable bodies will stay up late, as I did, to finish this book.”
—Sara Paretsky, author of the V.I. Warshawski novels
“One of my favorite moments this decade was catching Nicole Hollander onstage with the early chapters of Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial, and laughing in a theatre full of equally hysterical women my age. The wit alone will sustain me as I age—but the smarts, unabashed lip, and unforgettable zingers make me want to stick around for the triple digits.”
—Mary Kay Blakely, author of Wake Me When It’s Over and American Mom