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older but better but older book review

Books That Will Make You Feel Better About Getting Older: Older But Better, But Older, The Art of Growing Up

No matter how determined you are to embrace getting older, there’s the nagging age-old notion that, well, ageing is just not cool. This book is here to help you think again. Somehow managing to be both aspirational and down-to-earth at the same time, it’s like talking to a smart and sexy friend who helps you to see the advantages to getting older and laughs with you at the not so glamorous bits.

Caroline de Maigret is a French model, author, music producer and Chanel muse. Her book Older but Better but Older: The Art of Growing Up, written with film producer Sophie Mas, is Caroline’s report from the front line of what it feels like to be a woman getting older (she is 45). It doesn’t shy away from fears such as becoming invisible or annoyances such as how it gets harder to stay out all night partying. What it does is deliver the stylish French girl attitude to ageing: how to greet the passing of the years with an insouciant Gallic shrug.

Such insouciance is not to be confused with letting yourself go. Heaven forbid. Instead, the book suggests, learn to project an attitude of cool even while being secretly alarmed when ‘you wake up feeling great and everyone tells you how tired you look’  or when you hit that ‘very unpleasant moment, trying on a friend’s glasses only to realise that…life is better with them on’.

It covers beauty, fashion, sex, family and culture with eclectic sections including: ‘What Would Keith Richards Do?’ concerning how to style yourself when getting dressed in the morning; ‘Why Pottery?’ on taking up midlife hobbies; and an ode to ‘Wrinkles’:

‘Sunshine gives you wrinkles

Smiling gives you wrinkles.

Partying gives you wrinkles.

My god, how dull life must be for people with no wrinkles.’

The book skips easily from French intellectual wisdom, quoting writer Simone de Beauvoir’s observation that: ‘One is not born, but rather becomes a woman’, to make-up tips: ‘No skipping mascara anymore – your lashes aren’t as plentiful as they once were’.

Caroline and Sophie reassure the reader that it is not just about the smoothness of your skin. It’s about the life you are living; the books you have read; the work you have done; the family you care for; the way you have learnt what suits you (from clothes to make-up to lifestyle). It’s about what makes you look and feel fabulous because, and not in spite, of your years.

Delivered with the lightest of touches, it’s very funny, clever and, honestly? It makes you feel sorry for those youngsters who don’t have our wisdom and accomplishments.

For extra inspiration check out Caroline’s Instagram - all couture outfits alternated with black-jeans-and-boots; travel; work; a gorgeous Parisian apartment and not a midriff-baring, pouting selfie in sight. Life-affirming fabulousness for the pre- and post- menopausal tribe.

Older But Better, But Older: The Art of Growing Up by Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas, Ebury Press, £16.99, Waterstones

 

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