Broadcaster Jacinta Parsons writes about ageing in a woman’s body, not as someone who is, by any traditional measure, old but as someone in her midlife, reflecting on youth and looking down the barrel of menopause.
The book is rich in Parsons’ first-person anecdotes, accounts of teenage innocence, and then travelling in packs in her twenties, cushioned by the allyships of other girls and women. She writes about the strangeness of society’s silence around how to deal with the ravages of age, and she is particularly good on the way in which girls and women are taught to see themselves through the lens of others.
With her polymathic mind she hones in on the alienating passage of time, and the difficulty of seeing our past self with clarity. Observing that she is still the girl of her childhood, Parsons notes that many people feel much younger than their actual age.
Equal parts sober and joyful, A Question of Age (blessedly) gives no neat answers.