Sunday, June 12, 2016

"Old Age: A Beginner's Guide," by Michael Kinsley

Michael Kinsley, a longtime journalist/writer and editor of and for various prestigious periodicals (The New Republic, Harper’s, Slate, etc.), was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (“PD”) in his forties. For a while, he did not reveal this condition, fearing he would be pitied and perhaps not be considered for jobs, but eventually decided to do so. He has now lived with PD for about twenty years, and has been helped by medicine and surgery to live a relatively healthy and certainly very productive life. In his short book, “Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide” (Tim Duggan Books, 2016), a compendium of essays that form a coherent book, he writes candidly about his PD. Part of his purpose here is to educate readers and to demystify the disease. But his larger topic is how the Boomers generation is now learning about and confronting aging and, inevitably, death. The book is a combination of memoir, philosophical musings, story telling, medical information, advice, and more. Kinsley’s style is accessible, humane, occasionally a bit humorous, and realistic.

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