Reviews & Interviews
A pod-cast. "We are turning our attention to a new topic: love in later life. On May 7th, we started with the perfect person to interview: Eve Pell, author of Love, Again: The Wisdom of Unexpected Romance. Katie Couric said of Eve's book: “A heart-warming, eye-opening, life-affirming journey to the final frontier of romance--this is a beautiful book about the possibility of late-in-life love and the life-changing lessons we all can learn from those who have been lucky enough to find it.” In the book, Eve recounts her own later-life romance as well as those of other couples and effectively destroys the myth that romance, love, and sex belong only to the young."
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “there are no second acts in American lives.” In “Love, Again,” Pell proclaims him “a lousy prophet.” When it comes to falling in love, she argues that second — and third and fourth — acts are not only possible but “fulfilling, and even sexy.” (There's more; click through on the banner.)
“Old love is different,” writes author Eve Pell. “In our 70s and 80s, we had been through enough of life’s ups and downs to know who we were, and we had learned to compromise. We knew something about death because we had seen loved ones die. The finish line was drawing closer. Why not have one last blossoming of the heart?” (There's more. Click through to read the comments.)
In “Love, Again,” Eve Pell is old and in love as she begins to tell all about her romance in an uplifting memoir that includes the relationship experiences of other old people.
Pell admits she is old. In the book’s introduction, she eschews the use of euphemisms such as senior, older and elderly, and opts for the factual adjective that describes the years she has spent on earth. In her words: “Old is just a fact of life — if we are lucky to live long enough, it’s what we become.” (more at link)
At Book Passage in Corte Madera on Tuesday, a gang of single people gathered for a mixer before a book event for Eve Pell’s “Love, Again: The Wisdom of Unexpected Romance.” I’m not going to say the book is about old people finding love, because none of the lovers in the book seems old, nor did the jolly group that crowded the bookstore to (1) congratulate their pal Pell, a well-known writer/runner/political activist; (2) support literature; (3) do what people do at mixers, that is, meet someone. Let’s say instead that the book is about finding love after qualifying for the seats behind the driver on Muni.
"... I got a couple hundred emails from people telling the same story, their story of how they'd gotten together when they were old," says Pell, a slender, attractive and vivacious 77-year-old. "People tell you that old age is dry and boring and your body falls apart and you start to forget things. Very few people tell you the good side of age. ... I got a sense it was a phenomenon."
"...In many ways, older people are better prepared for love this time around, she says. Life experiences, a sense of one's mortality, confidence, acceptance and, perhaps most important, gratitude all play huge factors. They are also unencumbered from the distractions of younger romances, when careers and children need to be nurtured, and thus have the luxury of time to spend on each other and having fun together."
"When she was young, Eve Pell writes, she saw older people as “proper, set in their ways, conventional, slow-moving, and formal.” They were not supposed to be giddy, romantic, or — heaven forfend! — sexually active. Her viewpoint changed as she grew older, radically so when she fell madly in love in her late 60s, a romance that, she writes, “made me feel fiercely alive and happier than I ever was before.”
In this book, which sprang from an essay Pell wrote about her relationship with husband Sam, 10 years her senior, she profiles other couples who found love late in life. Some of their stories are passionate and romantic — like Tricia and Chuck, a Boston-area couple who reunited after having met years earlier in law school, or Dusty and Dorothy, who fell for each other despite Dorothy’s insisting after each night that “this was absolutely not a date.” Others are poignant, as love deepens in the shadow of loss. “There is a sweet intensity to old love,” Pell writes, and the same could be said of this charming, genuinely uplifting book."
How and why older couples have searched for and found new loves. Using details from her own late-in-life love story and those of 14 other couples, Pell (We Used to Own the Bronx: Memories of a Former Debutante, 2010) explores why couples in their 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s have reached out and found new companionship and romance.
Pell poses a series of questions that are answered in revolving snippets from each couple’s perspective; the responses help explain why the graying population of America is embracing another chance at happiness.
Whether they’ve met online, where the fastest growing dating demographic is individuals over the age of 60, through mutual friends, or rekindled an old love interest from high school, these couples have all decided that the joy, companionship and physical contact are benefits that outweigh any negatives. Many found their adult children were not supportive at first, as they didn’t understand the need for company after successful relationships of 40-50 years or more. Other couples faced serious health issues that cut short their time together, but all agreed none would skip the experience even if they knew the outcome in advance. Some overcame the dilemma of living in separate houses, filled with years of accumulated stuff, or of living in two different parts of the country.
“What has astonished me is the intensity and passion that old people can experience,” writes Pell, “as well as the depth, feeling, and resourcefulness in working out ways of relating, whether living together or apart, married or unmarried….I know from my own experience that people once written off as too old for romance—most notably by family—can transcend such stereotypes and engage in mad love affairs.” Readers old and young can take heart knowing that love doesn’t fade just because one grows old.
An entertaining look at older romance that should encourage baby boomers to get out there and mingle.
We Used to Own the Bronx
We Used to Own the Bronx "... a literary treat. ... Pell gives us a kind of cultural anthropology of the closest thing in America to a landed gentry." — Wall Street Journal