Picking up where she left off in Composing a Life (1991), anthropologist Bateson interviews six older individuals, from a retired Maine boatyard worker to Jane Fonda, who have accomplished most of their life goals but actively seek new and satisfying ways to live robust lives. Adulthood II, as Bateson call this period, is characterized by the wisdom culled from long lives and rich experience combined with freedom from the day-to-day responsibilities of work and raising children. Life in this stage is an "improvisational art form calling for imagination and the willingness to learn." Bateson follows Hank Lawson, a former boatyard metalworker, and his wife, Jane, from Maine to their retirement in Tucson, Ariz. There Hank turned his knowledge of tools and metal to making jewelry from precious metals and semiprecious stones. Liberated by the move from the ocean to the mountains, the Lawsons are flourishing, continually learning new things and refashioning their lives in a new place. Because Bateson lets various people retell their own stories of grappling with the challenges and the freedom of Adulthood II, her book is a deep meditation on the value of longevity and an inspiring testimony to the power and possibilities that come with growing older. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/26/2010 Release date: 09/01/2010 Genre: Nonfiction
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