Am I Old Yet?
The Story of Two Women, Generations Apart, Growing Up and Growing Young in a Timeless Friendship
By Leah Komaiko
(Golden Books Adult Publishing, Hardcover, 9781582380483, 176pp.)
Publication Date: October 1999
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The Story of Two Women, Generations Apart, Growing Up and Growing Young in a frank, funny, and illuminating account for anyone who fears aging but longs to grow up.
At forty-four, Leah Komaiko was not aging graciously. Not that she ever has. After all, her generation expects to stay forever young. But now she feels old and empty inside. Nothing she thinks of trying (plastic surgery, a vacation, a puppy, or a new husband) can make her feel young again. Then she meets Adele---a woman who never expected to be ninety-four---alone, forgotten, and living in a nursing home.
Am I Old Yet? is an inspiring memoir that takes us deep into a world where most hope never to enter and few, willingly, dare to go: the nursing home. What for Leah begins as a reluctant agreement to spend one hour a week with Adele at the California Chateau evolves into hundreds of hours. Through their visits and conversations (about aging, death, miracles, and even sex), Adele, who is completely blind, surprisingly is the one who helps Leah see the truth about growing old.
With Adele as her host, Leah becomes a regular at the Chateau events: sing-a-longs, food fights in the dining room, a Halloween party (where pirates swashbuckle in wheelchairs). Gradually, her own fears of aging begin to lift as she sees that Adele--- resilient, independent, and almost embarrassingly enthusiastic---is, in many ways, younger than she is.
This original and poignant book obliterates the generation gap. It shares the "coming-of-age" stories of two wonderful and flawed women, fifty years apart, who find themselves in places in their lives they never thought they'd be and in a friendship they never dreamed they'd know. Am I Old Yet? reveals that no matter how old people are, if they have love in their lives there is only one age: Alive.
Leah Komaiko is the author of eighteen popular picture books and novels for kids, including the bestselling Annie Bananie, the Annie Bananie chapter books, and Earl's Too Cool for Me. Her work has been featured and reviewed in dozens of magazines, newspapers, and on television. She has been a guest speaker in schools across the country as well as at numerous conventions and conferences. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
"Every once in a while a book drops out of the sky and lands on my 'favorites of all time' shelf. Am I Old Yet? is one such book. It reminds us of the power that life and all its wealth of experiences have to offer. Adele is a woman to be cherished, worshipped, and most of all, honored." --Jamie Lee Curtis
"In this tender, touching, and very funny memoir, Leah Komaiko illuminates the truth about living---vitality of mind and spirit is built on the bonds of love. Everyone who wants to be reminded of the miracles of friendship should read this book." --Mary Tyler Moore
"Komaiko is best at bringing to life Adele's independent mind and her determination to wrest as much life as possible out of her remaining days, as well as at pinpointing the aspects of nursing-home life that worked against Adele's fighting spirit." --Publishers Weekly
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For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org