cover image Forever Fifty and Other Negotiations

Forever Fifty and Other Negotiations

Judith Viorst. Simon & Schuster, $12.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-671-64329-4

In her seventh collection of verse homilies the prolific Viorst ( How Did I Get to Be Forty and Other Atrocities ) offers mild-mannered complaints about and righteous jubilation in honor of aging--specifically, turning 50. ``No, I'm not ashamed of my age,'' she declares, observing that maturity brings wisdom, though various vexations (``Face lift, or no face lift--that is the question'') follow close behind. Interspersed with her gripes is commonsensical advice: when youthful ``fantasies of magic and of mystery'' prove impractical, a spirit of compromise (the ``sweet pleasures of an ordinary life'') will come in handy. Though displaying her knack for penning advice columns in a conversational verse form, Viorst is not a poet, either major or minor: her lackadaisical, thudding rhymes and metrics owe more to the prosaic rhythms of coffee-break chitchat than to the sprightly, simple domestic music of traditional American-made doggerel. Literary Guild alternate. (Sept.)