If No One’s Looking, Do We Have To Try As Hard by Mary Hemlepp is a look a women’s lives once they reach fifty. It’s compulsive reading, and should probably also be compulsory reading for everyone since it gives such insights into the more mature female mindset. This is achieved with humor and a direct approach. The author starts by dismissing those prissy platitudes that are dished out so often and gets down to business at once. Yes, we’re in our fifties or beyond. Yes, most of our lives are behind us now. Yes, we can still make changes and be happy, possibly happier than we’ve ever been. There are chapters on happiness; beauty and sex appeal; health, wealth and wisdom, and worrying. Finally we have fifteen case studies that look very briefly at the lives of very different women.
Hemlepp gives us plenty of facts and figures to back up what she’s talking about in this book as well as the views of her contemporaries. This is a very slick and polished book. Whilst at times a few of the claims may not fit the reader’s profile, for example the author talks about how we all spend “thousands of dollars” on our appearance, generally the book is aimed well at its audience. The case studies are fascinating and some of them quite shocking, particularly that of an African-American woman who has struggled against society’s racist attitudes for most of her life. That puts things into perspective for the vast majority of us who might be feeling hard done by at what minor things getting older has thrown at us. So in summary, this is a very positive, inspiring and interesting book. You come away from it resolute about not “giving in to gray” but making the absolute most of being an older person.
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