Book Review: Between a Rock and a Hot Place by Tracey Jackson

Between a Rock and a Hot Place by Tracey Jackson

Rating: 5/5
Number of pages: 288
First published: 2012 (February)
Genre: non-fiction, memoir
I got this book: for review from Harper (finished copy)

The subtitle of this book is Why Fifty is the New Fifty. In other words, fifty is not the new thirty as most people seem to think. Jackson does a good job at dispelling any such idea. Fifty most certainly is not the new thirty. And being 50 is not as much fun as being 30, but you can go some way in making something of it.

As I am nearing 50, I am keen to find out from someone with some experience, what it is like to be that side of the Big 5-oh. Tracey Jackson is a comedy writer who explain in a very personal and funny way, how “her” 50 is not that of her grandmother’s but why it isn’t 30 either. I think she does a brilliant job of preparing me, the unsuspecting forty-something, for the harsh reality of being 50-something.

First Jackson compares herself to her grandmother and her mother and notices how 50-somethings like her are younger looking, more active, and take better care of their bodies than the 50+ in previous generations. So far so good.

But then: menopauze! Symptoms can be depression, weight gain, and much more. Time for a pill, or maybe not?

And then: want a new job? Ok, but do they want you? Probably not, unless you’re already a big star in your profession.

And furthermore: the children are moving out, leaving you wondering what to do with your empty nest; you need to work (hard) to keep those looks you had at 40 (botox? gym? both?); sooner or later you will have less money (think: no job or fewer assignments, pensions); if you’re single, men your age may be looking at women who actually are in their 30s rather than just pretending; people your age start dying around you, from health issues rather than accidental causes.

It sounds like a lot of misery. But: Jackson says: if you’re prepared for it, and willing to work on it, getting older doesn’t have to be all that bad. The book is written in a fun way, it gives you the very personal experience (including trial and error) of Tracey Jackson herself.

In each chapter she describes one of the issues and how she learned to deal with it. I got a good insight in growing older gracefully and got some great tips! Nearer the time (i.e., my 50th birthday) I will re-read this book for sure. My preparation for turning 50 so far is: going on a diet so I won’t have Jackson’s grandma’s physique.

If you’re in your 40s or 50s, you will likely enjoy this personal story of growing older.

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

8 Responses to Book Review: Between a Rock and a Hot Place by Tracey Jackson

  1. Rikki says:

    I will keep this one in mind. I still have a few years, but everybody keeps telling me that 50 is a BIG BIG deal (just what they said at 20, 30 and 40). Actually I feel better about myself today than when I was 20, so I can’t imagine what the big deal is, but this book seems to help even so.

  2. breieninpeking says:

    I don’t think 50 is a big deal. I love to see my children growing and going their own way. It’s great to spend more time with my hubby and taking more time doing things we like, instead of chosing more childfriendly activities. I’m more then happy being a grandma.
    The fact that I don’t look 30 doesn’t affect me a bit, I am not 30! I hope to grow old gracefully, so no surgery or botox, but yoga and walking.
    As for the sad part: I encountered very sad things when young, I’ve lost friends (my age) through sadder reasons than old age. I wished they had died of old age, so I’m prepared for that part of life too.
    But I still might want to read the book.
    Just enjoy every day, and stop counting the years.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I think my review was a little too negative, Karin. Jackson does say that it’s different for everyone.

      It sounds like you’re completely happy at this age, which is wonderful!

  3. Suzanne says:

    This sounds like a good fun book. It does seem that 50 year olds today look and act much younger than 50 year olds of my youth, but perhaps it is because I am closing in on that age myself ……

    • Leeswammes says:

      I think we’re definitely younger looking and acting than 2 generations ago, but it’s partly because of the time we’re living in. For instance, maybe in 1960 not many older people want to the gym but then *no-one* went to the gym, so you can’t compare, really. 🙂

  4. I have seen a couple reviews on this one. Reminds me a bit of the memoir I just listened to by Anna Quindlen

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