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Reinventing Myself: Memoirs of a Retired Professor

Marlys Marshall Styne (Author)

ISBN: 0-7414-3208-0 ©2006
Price: $15.95
Book Size: 5.5'' x 8.5'' , 135 pages
Category/Subject: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs

Finding herself retired, widowed, childless, seventy-three, and depressed, the author uses personal essays to examine her past experiences, present realities, and the future possibilities of her life in Chicago.

Retired seven years, widowed six years, childless, seventy-three years old, depressed, the author set out to find contentment through reflection and writing. Reinventing Myself: Memoirs of a Retired Professor is a series of personal essays recounting that quest and some of the experiences that came before it. Ms. Styne advocates writing for everyone, and hopes to encourage people of all ages, especially her fellow senior citizens, to write.

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Customer Reviews

  Memoir begets new memories , 06/25/2006
Reviewer: Margot Wallace
Few people have the imagination and fortitude to reinvent themselves. Marlys Styne has not only the will but the talent to become a writer. Clearly the process of exploring memory has resulted in a the beginning new memories. As she and we reexamine her life, we discover that gumption has been there all along. How many professional women don leather suits, fling a leg over a back seat, and hang on for miles and days as hubby drives his motorcycle all over the world? How many widows see themselves as interesting, separate from a spouse? How many retirees find a second calling? In the reinventing of Professor Styne, the tense is important. She didn’t reinvent herself in a gush of self discovery, she’s been doing it quietly all along. As for her current iteration as a writer, pay close attention. Her style is straightforward and unadorned, which may speed you past the not inconsiderable wit of a life well observed.

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  A must for those approaching retirement , 08/12/2006
Reviewer: Reader Views
Reviewed by Marcelline Burns for Reader Views (6/06) This book is a cautionary tale for those for whom retirement is a looming reality. The author enjoyed a successful 40- year career as a college teacher. She and her husband traveled widely, often by motorcycle and often with a splendid element of adventure. She retired from her work, however, with few concrete plans. She seems to have contentedly expected to spend her retirement years with her husband. Instead, she soon was a widow living alone with only an aging cat as a companion. Without family or close friends, without a consuming passion for any activity, it’s little wonder that she wrote. “… Friday just brings reminders of the boring weekend ahead.” This memoir is testimony to her loneliness and depression. “Reinventing Myself…” is an apt title, which announces the author’s objectives. She began to write the essays, which in time became the book, as her therapy as she struggled through purposeless and lonely days. The reader senses that indeed the writing became her salvation. As she sought her voice, she sometimes included detail that the reader will find tedious. That same reader, however, likely will forgive the tedium and wish her well, because the Mrs. Styne that comes alive through the essays is someone the reader will genuinely like. She is unassuming, a little shy, and perhaps unwilling or unable to reach out to others. We see her as alone and vulnerable, and we are a bit protective. Of course, we know that it was those same personality characteristics that isolated her. The writing is uneven. Sometimes the author stumbles, but then sometimes she gets it exactly right. Surprisingly, we learn that she seldom wrote during all her years of teaching. Thus, she was in the steepest part of the learning-to-write curve as these essays were being written. Although she tells us more than we want to know about some parts of her life, in the end she seems to have achieved her stated purpose of self-reinvention. She also reaches a goal that was probably unintended. Do you want to write? Or paint? Or try another creative endeavor? Is an adventure calling to you? Her uneven writing and her occasional missteps can serve to encourage the timid to be bold enough to try! This book shouts, “I did it. I persevered, and I did it.” Almost certainly she will continue to write, and I believe her writing will just get better and better. Reading, teaching English, loving great literature – aren’t those roughly equivalent to Writing 101? If you are approaching retirement, or if you have already retired and now find that you could benefit from some “reinvention”, this book is for you. Learn from Mrs. Styne’s experiences.

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