In this collection of essays, author Diann Logan uses humor and nostalgia to contemplate growing older and the changes that come with it.
The book opens with an explanation of Logan’s fixation on her navel and her displeasure that a series of medical conditions have resulted in an “umbilical hernia” and ruined what was once her prized body part. The first essay lays the foundation for the theme of the collection: Logan is growing older and her body seems to be betraying her. She’s getting shorter, losing hair, starting to smell and her navel looks like a “damn elephant trunk.”
Naturally, she doesn’t like any of it, but she also realizes there’s not a whole lot she can do about it. Along with the changes in her body, Logan considers the bigger questions, such as her sense of purpose and the changing times that have brought us friends who are strangers you share a click of a mouse with.
Much of the writing here is humorous, such as when she writes, “I’ve had the first little warning bell that blowing my nose and passing gas can go hand in hand …” But there is also a certain poignancy, too. Often, the two are mixed. A chapter that begins with her aching navel and the revelation that she needs to hold it, in order to protect it, when she sneezes, ends with “The truth is I don’t want to outlive my sense of purpose, no matter how minute the purpose of the moment might be.”
At times the sorrows of aging can feel a bit repetitious, and on at least one occasion, when a clerk describes the author’s hair as gray (Logan notes that it’s “sandy brown with a little gray here and there”), the writing devolves into a rather ugly rant. Those concerns aside, this an enjoyable read, well written and edited, and one women of a certain age will readily identify with.
Also available as an ebook.