Reviewed by Sara C. Looney, George Mason U.
Dorothy Doherty and Mary McNamara set out to write a book on aging. It is in some respects like many other books that abound today using stories and archetypes to help readers develop an interior life. But it is less pretentious and less scholarly. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that I found it enjoyable to read.
The authors recount six children's stories that are "designed to mirror the inner movement of a life from isolated individuality through painful moves and transitions to a deepening sense of community and loving responsibility for the world and its future." p. 17
Each story is the centerpiece for a chapter which follows a specific pattern: a brief prose recounting of the story, a reflective free verse section which invites the readers to meditate on the story and the parallels in her own life, and then the authors' text, which applies the lessons of the story to the experiences of growing older. The appendix outlines "spiritual exercises" which the reader is invited to use in life work.
I found two chapters particularly applicable at this stage of my life: The section on the Hermit Crab and the story of Miss Rumphius.
The Hermit Crab periodically outgrows his home and so has to move on. During that process of moving from the formerly comfortable shell home to one that is...
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