We’ve just read “The Warmth Of Your Heart Prevents Your Body From Rusting” for our book group by the French author Marie de Hennezel. It has become a self help “bestseller” in France with over 100,000 copies sold. I was really looking forward to reading the book – all about how to age without growing old. It is in fact very French and there are lots of truisms in the book – about what she thinks old people lack “it isn’t smooth skin or rounded cheeks; it is joy and youthfulness of heart”. In order to achieve this she suggests we aim to be charming and constantly open to new ideas, young people and the world in general. To continue to enjoy life by looking beyond ourselves. That said, I found that there were a few too many quotes and at times it was a little repetitive.
We had a very good discussion about growing old (dis)gracefully and about our thoughts on death. She thinks “a good death” is important to the remaining family members and loved ones and that we all should aim to face death with courage and acceptance. A lot of it actually didn’t really relate to our age group – several of my friends found it all rather depressing. However, as she points out “it is up to us, the baby boomers, to invent a new art of growing old” and to find a way of being relevant to others rather than to feel like a burden. Another friend took the advice to make the effort to actually look into the eyes of an elderly person – to make them feel less invisible and has already noticed a huge difference in the way they respond to her.
We had a lovely evening – here we all are – eating and drinking and generally chewing the fat (aka delicious chocolates):-
The book we are reading next, which has had incredibly good write-ups is “A Visit From The Goon Club” by Jennifer Egan.