The Invisible Woman: Taking on the Vintage Years
Sixty is the new forty, we're constantly told. Or is it that seventy is the new fifty? Yet fashionable clothes shops cater for little but elfin twenty-year-olds; magazines carry little but articles about appearing younger. Heaven forbid you try to apply for a job...Older women are permitted to be either part of the slippers and cardigans brigade, or to cling desperately to their youth and insist on being 'young at heart'. Can't there be a third way? A way to age with grace, security, beauty and adventure, and a way to keep your identity against a growing tide of voices telling you how you'd be happier if only you looked ten years younger. Covering topics from family, finances and work to cosmetics, fashion and sex, The Invisible Woman - which is also Helen's Guardian column nom de plume - is a new sort of book about ageing; one that teaches us not how to avoid it, but how to enjoy it, grow with it, and thrive.
'The Invisible Woman always speaks to me, and for me. It's about saying up yours to the cult of youth, but also about seeing the life of the 50+ as hilariously funny (not unlike the life of the 15 year old, when you come to think about it).' -- Mary Beard
'We love the way Helen writes. She tells it as it is because she KNOWS how it is. At Gransnet we constantly battle against the misconceptions and prejudices around ageing. We are delighted that Helen is helping to set the record straight and embrace her philosophies wholeheartedly and with gusto.' -- Gransnet
'The Invisible Woman in The Vintage Years reminds us that style and wit begin in youth but are mastered in middle-age. You can roundly stick your 20's. Hers is a voice for proper grown-ups not yet ready to come down, and I'm in.' -- Alison Moyet
Helen Walmsley-Johnson is the author of the Guardian's 'The Vintage Years' column, which has 65,000 regular readers. Now 58, Helen relocated to London aged 45, worked for Cameron Mackintosh and the Telegraph, before joining the Guardian as Alan Rusbridger's PA for seven years. She is a passionate believer that there's nothing middle-of-the-road about being middle-aged.