Jane Fonda’s Prime Time might seem like an odd choice given that Mother’s Day is this month. And I’ll be honest, I was hoping to recommend a novel about motherhood. I looked high and low and read (or partially read) about a dozen books.
I discovered that books about motherhood fall into a few broad categories: First, there are humorous books with variations on the kids-say-the-darndest-things jokes, or I’m-so-frazzled-I-need-wine jokes. Are they funny? Sure! But if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
Then, there are the memoirs which are either saccharin or venomous. Or stories about missing or terminally ill children—I’m not touching those with a bargepole. My heart can’t take it.
Finally, there are the parenting books which I stopped reading years ago because they either (a) made me feel inadequate or (b) made me think the sky was falling. Who needs that pressure?
So, I settled on Prime Time because it’s an uplifting surprise of a book, and although it’s been out a while (published in 2011), I don’t know many people who have read it.
Prime Time is for all women, not just mothers.
As we enter middle age we start to look ahead at our golden years often with a sense of dread. We have a feeling that somehow our lives will be filled with medication and limitations. Even worse, many of us feel that this is an unavoidable part of getting older.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s bullshit.
In Prime Time, Jane Fonda talks about ageing in terms of the arch and the staircase. With the arch, we peak at midlife and then there’s a steady decline downward to death. (Fun, huh?) The staircase represents a constant upward movement, always growing, learning, getting stronger and wiser. (I’m a staircase girl, myself.)
It’s not a touchy-feely kind of book, although there are parts like that. There’s loads of research and studies, and empirical evidence showing that getting older isn’t synonymous with decline. There’s a lot of talk now about the women’s movement, and that’s awesome. There are things in society that need to change, but there are things within us that need to change too.
This is what Prime Time is about; when it comes to our health and ageing, we’re already empowered.
Available in print, digital and audio versions. Visit your local library or click here to buy the ebook. If your library doesn’t carry this book, ask them to order it.
The audiobook is narrated by Jane Fonda herself. As an actor, she knows how to read non-fiction text in a way that keeps the listener engaged.
Plus, she’s really cool.