for keeps

Nearly every aging woman has a complicated relationship with her body.

For Keeps, an inspirational collection of personal essays from writers on their ever-changing bodies, will resonate with every maturing woman. Editor Victoria Zackheim brings together women with unique voices who have all struggled, at one time or another, to make peace with the bodies that at times they don’t even recognize as their own. From a mastectomy that renewed one woman’s lease on life, to the emergence of gray hairs and wrinkles, each woman addresses aging, illness, injury, and life circumstances with humor and grace.

These empowering essays explore the many ways that aging can be a positive, revealing transformation; Ultimately, For Keeps challenges every woman to rethink the way she sees her body through various life-altering changes in order to lead a more healthy, satisfying, and productive life.

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Nora Ephron’s bestselling I Feel Bad About My Neck has perhaps opened the door to discussing the failings of the female body and of female aging, and the 27 contributors to this collection deserve gratitude for enlarging the discussion. The essays detail a plethora of possible events associated with aging: aging mothers and mothers-in-law, one’s own increasing frailty and final illnesses. There are deaths and divorces after long-lived marriages. Other contributors write of the abrupt arrival in the world of acute or chronic illness. Two very different threads run throughout the essays. One is the degree to which each writer has found a way to retain or regain a sense of power over her life. The other is the power of childhood messages and experiences to resonate for decades. Standouts include PW Reviews director Louisa Ermelino’s luminous account of her mother’s and husband’s final illnesses, and Liza Nelson’s wonderful story of her double mastectomy—she’s thrilled to be rid of the enormous appendages that had tormented her all her life.

-from Publishers Weekly: