Ripe: The Truth About Growing Older And The Beauty Of Getting On With Your Life by Janet Champ and Charlotte Moore, is not a typical book about menopause. There are no chapters on what to do about hot flashes, nor advice about losing weight. It’s more about how we handle the changes that life, age and time do to us. It’s truthful, thought-provoking and clever, which is why you won’t want to keep it tucked away with your other books.
The authors lead us on a journey of self-exploration using photographs, illustrations, quotes from women (of a certain age), lists, letters, postcards, even a mock-screenplay (“Me- The Movie”) – all meant to raise awareness, poke fun and question our and others’ attitudes about this chapter in our lives called menopause (an unfortunate name in my opinion).
My favorite chapter is “Love & Menopause – a Letter,” in which the authors write to their significant others because they’re along for the ride too, though it may be bumpy:
“Just think of me as a fun house mirror. I used to reflect you in a way that you liked. Now, well, maybe that reflection is a little funny looking. But it’s still you. It’s just that maybe you’ll see yourself differently through me for a while.”
In the final chapter, “Women, Express Thyself,” the authors leave pages blank for us, the readers, to record our own views about Menopause. The copy I borrowed from the library had this note from a previous borrower:
“It is possibility. It is a life for myself. It is the next part of life. (Your turn)”
Okay – my turn. “It’s uncomfortable, sometimes a drag, but it’s not a big deal. It’s a sub-plot, not the main story-line of my life. As my grandmother liked to say, I have bigger fishes to fry.”