cover image The New Old Me: My Late-Life Reinvention

The New Old Me: My Late-Life Reinvention

Meredith Maran. Blue Rider, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-57413-9

To reinvent means to change so much as to appear entirely new, but that’s not what Maran (Why We Write About Ourselves) describes in this disappointing memoir. Instead,when Maran’s marriage to the woman of her dreams fell apart when she was 60, she moved to L.A. and set about recreating her old life. She speed-friended, she found a character-filled bungalow in Silver Lakes to replace the character-filled Victorian in Oakland, and she found new love. Other changes were cosmetic: exercise, Botox, a Brazilian. She gives short shrift to the career switch from freelance to full-time writer for an office filled with chic (and much younger) women, the kind of nightmare experience many older women would equate with lecturing sans pants. What Maran does reinvent is her own history. In earlier discussions of My Lie, her book about the sexual abuse accusations she leveled against her father when she was in her 30s and later realized were not true, Maran has said those accusations led to an eight-year silence between her and her father. Here, she makes no mention of this past, saying instead that her father’s rejection of her partner was what led to the freeze. Being a “perpetually oversharing memoirist” may have made it impossible for Maran to truly reinvent herself. [em](Mar.) [/em]