The New Old Me by Meredith Maran

The New Old Me

Meredith Maran

“Meredith Maran’s memoir about her recent experiences navigating life’s sudden shifts and tilts and swerves, is funny, tough, sweet, and always charming.”—Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings

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“A funny, seasoned take on dashed illusions.”—O Magazine 

For readers of Anne Lamott, Abigail Thomas, and Ayelet Waldman, a “lusty, kickass*” post-divorce memoir, one woman’s story of starting over at 60—in youth-obsessed, beauty-obsessed Hollywood.

After the death of her best friend, the loss of her life’s savings, and the collapse of her once-happy marriage, Meredith Maran—whom Anne Lamott calls “insightful, funny, and human”—leaves her San Francisco freelance writer’s life for a 9-to-5 job in Los Angeles. Determined to rebuild not only her savings but herself while relishing the joys of life in La-La land, Maran writes “a poignant story, a funny story, a moving story, and above all an American story of what it means to be a woman of a certain age in our time” (Christina Baker Kline, number-one New York Times–bestselling author of Orphan Train).


“High time we had a book that celebrates becoming an elder! Meredith Maran writes of the difficulties of loss and change and aging, but makes it clear that getting on can be more interesting, more fun, and a lot more exciting than youth.”
Abigail Thomas, author of the New York Times bestseller What Comes Next and How to Like It
“The New Old Me is a book I don’t just want to read—I need to read it. So does everyone else who’s getting older and wants to live fully, with immediacy and enjoyment, which is to say, everyone.”
Anne Lamott, author of the New York Times bestsellers Bird by Bird and Some Assembly Required

Advance Galley Reviews

When I received this ARC from Penguin's First To Read program, I was skeptical about finding much to relate to in Meredith Maran's memoir beyond the similarity in our age. How wrong I was! Maran tells the story of her "late-life reinvention" with honesty and humor. Reading about her learning to navigate the hazards of divorce, job loss, deaths of close family and friends, break-ups and trying not to lose her balance while doing so was captivating and instructive. Maran offers her readers valuable life lessons, yet not only avoids being preachy, but also maintains her sense of humor. I highly recommend this book to all ages, but especially to those adjusting to "late-life" challenges. Thank you to Penguin's First To Read program for introducing me to Meredith Maran.

As I started this book, my first thought was..."Oh, another same sex book to join the band wagon." Was I ever surprised! This is a book about grief and starting over when you least expect it to happen and really has nothing to do with sexual orientation. The author just happens to be a lesbian. My life has flipped in my twenties, forties and yes, sixties. Grief never changes and how we cope is personal for each of us. That said, I found myself marking passages throughout the book that rang true. Like the author, I've found friends got me through the tough times. If a reader gets nothing else from this book, it's how important it is to cultivate friendship and not let it languish into nothingness. As quoted in the book, "friendship ripens with time" and "friendship is most treasured as the years go by." The New Old Me might not be for everyone right now; but at some point in our lives we all experience gut wrenching grief. Then, pick up this book as a primer. Living beyond grief is never easy, but life goes on and by living each day we grow and find new happiness. Never the same, but a different happy.

I have mixed feelings about The New Old Me. While the book was very well written, the story wasn't my cup of tea. I will say however that should my life be completely flipped upside down in my sixties or later, I hope that I have the strength and courage to face life's difficulties like Meredith. I hope also to one day have a tribe of friends I can lean on when life gets harder. That's something I've never had but am searching for.

Meredith Maran gives us her journal from age 60-62. It's a time of upheaval and reinventions, as seems fairly common for those of us currently in her age group, more so than it was for our mothers and grandmothers at this stage of our lives. As such, we lack models for this stage of living, and this book feels like her vehicle for reflection and processing. We can take inspiration from her resilience. She also takes us through her experience of the losses that happen for all of us as our spouses, parents, friends, and our friends' spouses begin to die. Loss can be overwhelming; I've lived that again and again. Perhaps if I'd been in the throes of grief more intensely right now I would have appreciated the book more. As it is, it was tedious going through her many losses with her without, as another reviewer said, 'an overarching story.' We know she has grown children, and she tells us she's not going to include them, but by the end of the book, it just seems odd that she didn't. In another gaping hole, she tells us in detail about an afternoon with Kenny Loggins, and being hired to write his book. It's never mentioned again, though she spins her work and other assignments in some detail throughout the three years. It's a fast, easy read that's bound to have something for almost any woman to identify with, but not one I'd recommend.

My mistake, I was thinking I had a little more time to read this one, but I do not. Sorry about that.

I found this book to be hopeful and inspiring. It must have been hard for Ms. Maran to rebuild herself and her life when she thought that she would never had to again. I enjoyed reading her about her new journey after finding herself single and starting a new job in her sixties. I am reminded that it is never to late to start over.

I enjoyed reading Meredith's journey to remake her life by moving to LA from San Francisco after some major life setbacks including divorce, loss of her life savings and death of her best friend. At 60 that can be both a wonderful journey and a nightmare. It was both for Meredith, despite some hurt along the way, she came out and is stronger for it. Meredith's story is one everyone should read, especially those my age 55 and up. This book proves that no matter the odds, you can survive and come out better for it. Great read and highly recommended. ****I was given this book in exchange for an honest review from Peguin First to Read program.. ***

This book was really interesting. The way it was written, I felt like I was listening to Meredith's life as a friend. She made it very person and I was pulled into the book. When she was happy I jumped for joy. When she was devastated, I felt it with her. Though I can't relate to her generation, she made it easy to understand where she came from and just how she came to be who she is. Loved the book, highly recommend reading it if you're looking for a story about someone who has to reset her life and must come to face change, mortality, and acceptance.

I loved reading Merediths journey as a heartbroken, displaced woman needing to remake her life. I felt her heartbreak as she left her life in Northern Cal to the plastic city of LA. Her struggle to make her way at a new job for the first time in many years among the beautiful people 30 years younger, to making new friends and finding peace and happiness, made me think about the struggles in my own journey. Her writing style was a little pretentious at times but still well written and an easy read.

A good writer can keep you engaged despite the subject matter. This is the first book I've read by Meredith Maran and she is clearly a talented writer. The book begins with her leaving her home in Oakland to start a new job, separated from her wife but desperate to get back together. She writes a lot about grief - the grief of separation from her relationship, the loss of her father with Alzheimer's, the death of a dear friend. Grief is a subject I can relate to, and I was interested to read the challenges of reinventing herself, but there just wasn't enough there to keep me fully engaged. I found myself checking the page numbers, ready to close the book on her story because I found it to be repetitive, and I guess I didn't feel like I shared her values. I admit that I've never experienced divorce the way that she has, although I've had my fair share of breakups. Even years after her relationship ended, she was so hung up on her ex that it was hard to empathize any more. Her best friend passing away, her father's Alzheimers, and other challenges she mentions throughout the book seemed to weigh more heavily on me, the reader, than they did on her as she was more focused on her relationship with her ex-wife. Her tone was self-deprecating at times and I appreciate that she is open about her flaws and characteristics that led her toward this need for reinvention, but after a while I felt like I was reading someone else's therapy. It seems to me that she wrote this more for herself to work through some things, and less so for entertainment or entlightenment for a mass audience. I think it felt better for her to write it all down than it did for me to read it.

This book is about a 60 year old women who decides to recreate her life when most people her age are getting ready to retire. Taking the plunge to leave her wife (and unhappy marriage) and Northern California home, Meredith goes to L.A. to essentially restart her life. Going through the struggles of a new city (and no money), divorce and low self-esteem in a city dedication to young soul-cycleists and spandex, Meredith proves that it is never to late to reinvent yourself. Meredith expressed the struggles and the delights of starting over, but doing so at the age of sixty added an extra element of bravery and awe. Through her story, Meredith gains and loses friends, family and lovers but shows how a supportive network of friends and the people around you can help an individual get through all the hard times, even when a positive outcome seems unlikely. The unfiltered nature of which Meredith's book is told gives an incredible and insightful message to its readers- ensuring them that in the end, your own happiness is truly what matters. I enjoyed how the book was written, as an unfiltered monologue to a women's attempt to start over. Her story is motivating to others that wish to change their circumstances, regardless of age. Meredith talks a lot about the struggles but in the end, shows how wonderfully worth it it was. I think this book can be really inspirational to it's readers - especially those who feel like they need a fresh start. As Meredith depicts, it all starts with having belief in oneself and surrounding oneself with people who are supportive. With those two things, a person can conquer anything- just like Meredith did. **Book was received through the FirstToRead program in exchange for an honest review- 4 stars***

I loved this book. The author writes about her many struggles with love and loss and comes to a realization about her dependency on alcohol. This is not a typical feel good at the end memoir, which I appreciate. At the end of this book, you realize that happiness, love and live are a journey and not a destination because there is always something around the corner that will rock your world, for good or bad. The blurbs recommend this for people who are aging. I'm 30 and got a lot of wisdom from this book. It helps to realize that having it all together is a myth. At 60, Meridith Maran thinks she is making young, stupid mistakes, but the truth is she is just adapting to the changes in life the best way she can. I want to re-read this book every year - there are so many gems of wisdom here.

I absolutely loved this book, although it took a little while to warm up to. It is an, at times, painfully honest look at grief. Meredith Maran comes to terms with herself and with her friends and family, a journey not everyone is brave enough to undertake. She is a remarkable woman and this book will stay with me.

About half way through the book, I wound up skimming more than reading. The book felt very one note to me. I appreciate her personal journey and commend her for writing through the aftermath of a long marriage. Her choice to focus on only herself felt very narrow and while I understand the why behind it, this choice made her seem very narrow.

I enjoyed this book but I didn't love it. This is the story of Meredith Maran's life - or part of it anyway. It was inspiring to read how Meredith navigated the changing waters of her life. However, much of the time I just wanted to shake her and say "suck it up buttercup!" As a woman not too many years younger, I can absolutely relate to having to compete with younger, prettier & healthier women in order to feel "relevant." Still, no one forced her to choose the life she was living. Her choices were hers and hers alone. And while I commend her for being true to herself, I felt like she did an awful lot of whining along the way. I suppose that her journey is the point of the book though, so I can forgive her for it. Would I read this book again? Probably not. I would however recommend it to someone going through a major life change - for perspective as well as for a chance to wallow in someone else's drama for a while.

I think the title to this book is perfect, & describes it thoroughly! It's an easy book to read & also easy to relate to .....especially for this reader who is in the author's age group. If you've spent any time in L.A., you'll find something familiar in that too. When Maran mentions kindly of my two favorite authors, B. Kingsolver & A. Lamott..... I'm a fan! It was enjoyable to get to look into a window...on a part of her life story.....the good times, & tough times. I did win this ARC in a First-To-Read giveaway program, in return for my own independent, fair & honest review.

Meredith Maran has written an interesting but highly restricted personal reflection on her post divorce life. She chose to write about three years immediately after she drives away from the home she has lived in for 20-odd years, 15 of them in a marriage while raising children. Early on she tells readers that she will not speak of her children, her former marriage partner or most of her friends. She only wants to write about her personal journey in very specific ways. In making that decision, she removes a level of intimacy that would have improved the reading experience and made the overall story more complete. While the anecdotes were good, they remained just that: anecdotes isolated from a sense of an overarching story. The book also suffers from the age 60 marketing hype; I wish she had something special to offer about the greying Boomer facing post divorce years alone. But Meredith's issues weren't that different from what a 45 or 55 year old's would have been.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I loved it, not only because I'm from her generation, but because she lays life on the line. This is more than just a story of loss and grief, but an awakening of the spirit. The courage that she has is phenomenal, not only in living her story but in being willing to share it with the rest of the world. So many truths amid the pages. A refreshing dose of one woman's reality and how she turns loss and disappointment onto just another bend on the road of her journey. Well worth your time to read!

Being older, could identify with the character's story, having gone through life's upheavals and learning to move on even though it was hard and wanting things differently, but eventually arriving where you are meant to be.

As you get older sometimes you look at life and say, "is this the way is going to be". This book took you on a journey of when the answer is, "no". This book reminds you that it can be scary, challenging and heartbreaking to change when you think you are settled and find everything around you changing but it can also be heartwarming and fulfilling.

I'm a good 40 years younger than Meredith Marian, and I was terrified that the age difference would matter. How could I relate to someone who's had all these experiences that I haven't? I needn't have worried. I flew through this book! It's been a while since I've read a memoir that feels so real. The writing was so engaging and unguarded; I found myself rooting for Meredith as I read.


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