The Navel Diaries: How I Lost My Belly Button and Found Myself offers the reader a poignant and humorous view of one woman's journey into maturity. After decades of inhabiting a body with a stunning flat belly and a perfect navel, things changed for the author. The perfect navel was ruined by pneumonia, altered to bulging status by the hacking cough. For some this might not be worth noting, but for the author it was a profound life event. She, like so many others, thought she would be forever young, never planned to feel or be old. It was that moment, that first glimpse of the new, permanent out-ey, that jolted the author into the shocking awareness of the one-way street of life's progression. It was the first signal that youth is fleeting, that it will be replaced by a continuous string of events, all of them verifying that the aging process is well under way. The wit of the book is infused with generational memories and family lore that dovetail into the present. The vivid narratives take the reader along on the journey: from the segregated swimming pool of childhood to the possibility of a new house in a 55+ retirement community, from the oiled, bronzed skin of college to the dermatologist's office, from the days of beehives to the driver's license that falsely depicts a few gray hairs as "Hair: Gray". There are new physical and emotional perspectives every day, and as with any diary, they are faithfully chronicled. There are creaking joints and drooping breasts, an ancient bladder and quirky digestion, questions about usefulness and purpose, commentary about maintaining a youthful stride through parking lots and airports and life. The author investigates the beauty culture from the vantage point of maturity and challenges the cultural stereotypes about aging. Speculative questions include: Must we burden our children with the same old attitudes about getting older? Must we protect them from the actuality of aging? Must we leave our daughters to discover for themselves the resilience of unwanted chin whiskers? The metaphors utilized veer along the continuum from thoughtful to ridiculous to indignant. Sometimes the tale is humorous, sometimes it touches the heart. The perspective is refreshing; the attitude is always positive and passionate. This diary encourages the author and the reader to come to terms with the age that's coming.
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