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The New Math of Old Age

Boomer women need to learn the (chronological) facts of life

Book cover for Tracey Jackson's

Tracey Jackson is like an annoying girlfriend — the kind who shares too much and is forever telling you what to do. Yet you're oddly fond of her; she's funny and appears to have your best interests at heart.

Jackson, a screenwriter (Confessions of a Shopaholic) and documentary filmmaker, wrote Between a Rock and a Hot Place: Why Fifty Is Not the New Thirty to set boomer women straight. Specifically, she wants them to stop denying the march of time and start preparing for the future. Fifty is 50, she declares at the outset of this combination self-help guide and confessional memoir, “and it arrives with more baggage than Paris Hilton on a press tour.”  Sigh — that’s just the first of many cringe-inducing wordplays you’ll find here.

Of course, Jackson is onto something. Boomers have managed to extend youth — and delay aging — longer than any previous generation. And we do look younger than our grandmothers (possibly even our mothers) did when they were our age.

Still, no one gets out of here alive — the oldest boomers are busily turning 65 this year. Enter Jackson, who tucks her arm in ours for her “journey to fifty and beyond” while dispensing helpful hints on sex, work, money, health, the empty nest and the accretion of wrinkles.

A word to the squeamish: If you blush easily, you’ve come to the wrong book. Jackson’s chapter on “Sex, Estrogen and Not So Much Rock and Roll” opens thus: “When I was thirty, I masturbated every day without fail, some days twice.” That was then; at 50 she “never” does (she says), leading to a present-day scene involving Jackson, her evidently good-natured husband, a complicated his-and-hers sex toy and the family Chihuahua.

Then there’s Jackson’s shticky trope about more conventional methods of weight loss: “Call me vain, call me shallow,” she writes, “but don’t call me between eight and nine because I will be at the gym.” Ba-DOOM-boom, ksshhh!

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