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About Judith Viorst
Judith Viorst has written many books for children, including the classics Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and its sequels, and If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Stories. She is also the author of Just in Case, illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal. She lives with her husband, Milton, in Washington D.C.
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Titles By Judith Viorst
Alexander could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair. When he got out of bed, he tripped over his skateboard and by mistake dropped his sweater in the sink while the water was running. He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Nothing at all was right. Everything went wrong, right down to lima beans for supper and kissing on TV.
What do you do on a day like that? Well, you may think about going to Australia. You may also be glad to find that some days are like that for other people too.
Drawing on psychoanalysis, literature, and personal experience, Necessary Losses is a philosophy for understanding and accepting life’s inevitabilities.
In Necessary Losses, Judith Viorst turns her considerable talents to a serious and far-reaching subject: how we grow and change through the losses that are a certain and necessary part of life. She argues persuasively that through the loss of our mothers’ protection, the loss of the impossible expectations we bring to relationships, the loss of our younger selves, and the loss of our loved ones through separation and death, we gain deeper perspective, true maturity, and fuller wisdom about life. She has written a book that is both life affirming and life changing.
Viorst explores, among the many other issues of this stage of life, the state of our sex lives and teeth, how we can stay married though thermostatically incompatible, and the joys of grandparenthood and shopping. Readers will nod with rueful recognition when she asks, “Am I required to think of myself as a basically shallow woman because I feel better when my hair looks good?,” when she presses a few helpful suggestions on her kids because “they may be middle aged, but they’re still my children,” and when she graciously—but not too graciously—selects her husband’s next mate in a poem deliciously subtitled “If I Should Die Before I Wake, Here’s the Wife You Next Should Take.” Though Viorst acknowledges she is definitely not a good sport about the fact that she is mortal, her poems are full of the pleasures of life right now, helping us come to terms with the passage of time, encouraging us to keep trying to fix the world, and inviting us to consider “drinking wine, making love, laughing hard, caring hard, and learning a new trick or two as part of our job description at seventy.”
I'm Too Young to Be Seventy is a joy to read and makes a heartwarming gift for anyone who has reached or is soon to reach that—it’s not so bad after all—seventh decade.
What does it mean to be eighty? In her wise and playful poems, Judith Viorst discusses love, friendship, grand parenthood, and all the particular marvels—and otherwise—of this extraordinary decade. She describes the wonder of seeing the world with new eyes—not because of revelation but because of a successful cataract operation. She promises not to gently fade away, and not to drive after daylight’s faded away either. She explains how she’s gotten to be a “three-desserts” grandmother (“Just don’t tell your mom!”), shares how memory failure can keep you married, and enumerates her hopes for the afterlife (which she doesn’t believe in, but if it does exist, her sister-in-law better not be there with her).
As Viorst gleefully attests, eighty is not too old to dream, to flirt, to drink, and to dance. It’s also not too late to give up being cheap or to take up with a younger man of seventy-eight. Zesty, hopeful, and full of the pleasures of living, Viorst’s poems speak to her legions of readers, who recognize themselves in her knowing observations, in her touching reflections, and in her joyful affirmations. Funny, moving, inspirational, and true—the newest in Judith Viorst’s beloved “decades” series extols the virtues, victories, frustrations, and joys of life.
Featuring interviews with married women and men, the findings of couples therapists, the truths offered by literature and movies, and a bemused exploration of her own marriage, Judith Viorst illuminates the issues couples struggle with from "I do" through "till death do us part." Examining marital rivalry, marital manners, marital sex (extramarital, too), marital fighting and apologies, what kids do for (and to) marriage, and the boredom and bliss of everyday married life, Viorst leaves no marital stone unturned. From the early years when we wonder "Who is this person?" and "What am I doing here?" to the realities of divorce, remarriage, and growing older (and old) together, Viorst offers insights and advice with honesty, humanity, and humor -- all the while recognizing how tough it is to be married and, when it works, how very precious it can be.
Never, Not ever. No way. Uh uh. N.O.
For how can he leave his best friend or his favorite sitter or Seymour the cleaners? he'd rather stay and live in a tree house or cave. And even though Nick calls him puke-face and Anthony says he's immature, he's not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) going to move.
In Nearing Ninety, bestselling author Judith Viorst candidly shares the complicated joys and everyday tribulations that await us at the age of ninety, all with a large dose of humor and an understanding that nothing—well, almost nothing—in life should be taken too seriously. While she struggles to make it to midnight on New Year's Eve, while she’s starting to hear more eulogies than symphonies, while she’ll forever be disheartened by what she weighs (and forever unable to stop weighing herself), there is plenty to cherish at ninety: hanging out with the people she loves. Playing a relentless game of Scrabble. And still sleeping tush-to-tush with the same man to whom she’s been married for sixty years.
Accompanied by Laura Gibson’s whimsical illustrations, Nearing Ninety’s amusing and touching reflections make this collection relatable to readers of all ages. With the wisdom and spunk of someone who’s seen it all, Viorst gently reminds us that everybody gets old, and that the best medicine at any age is laughter.
The stubbornly hilarious Lulu has decided it’s time to buckle down and earn some cash. How else can she save up enough money to buy the very special thing that she is ALWAYS and FOREVER going to want? After some failed attempts at lucrative gigs (baking cookies, spying, reading to old people), dog walking seems like a sensible choice. But Brutus, Pookie, and Cordelia are not interested in making the job easy, and the infuriatingly helpful neighborhood goody-goody, Fleischman, has Lulu at the end of her rope. And with three wild dogs at the other end, Lulu’s patience is severely tested. Will she ever make a friend—or the money she needs?
In this standalone sequel to Lulu and the Brontosaurus, children’s book legends Judith Viorst and Lane Smith once again prove that even the loudest, rudest, and most obstinate of girls can win us over.
Whether she’s finding herself or finding a sitter, contemplating her sex life as she rubs hormone night cream on her face, or wrestling with the contradiction of falling in love with a man her parents would actually approve of, Viorst transforms the familiar events of daily life into poems that make you laugh with recognition.
Here is the young single girl leaving her parents’ home for life in the big city (“No I do not believe in free love/And yes I will be home for Sunday dinners”). Here is the aspiring bohemian with an expensive liberal arts education, getting coffee and taking dictation, “Hoping that someday someone will be impressed/With all I know.” Here is that married woman, coping with motherhood (“The tricycles are cluttering my foyer/The Pop Tart crumbs are sprinkled on my soul”) and fantasy affairs (“I could imagine cryptic conversations, clandestine martinis...and me explaining that long kisses clog my sinuses”) and all-too-real family reunions (“Four aunts in pain taking pills/One cousin in analysis taking notes”). And here she is at mid-life, wondering whether a woman who used to wear a “Ban the Bomb” button can find happiness being a person with a set of fondue forks, a fish poacher, and a wok.
Every step of the way, It’s Hard to be Hip Over Thirty and Other Tragedies of Married Life demonstrates once and for all that no one understands American women coming of age like Judith Viorst.
*It’s Hard to be Hip Over Thirty and Other Tragedies of Married Life is a reissue of the previous collection originally titled When Did I Stop Being Twenty and Other Injustices.
Alexander has...bus tokens.
And even when he's rich, pretty soon all he has is bus tokens.
He was rich. Last Sunday.
Grandma Betty and Grandpa Louie came and gave Anthony and Nicholas and Alexander each a dollar. Alexander was saving his. Maybe for a walkie-talkie.
And then there was bubble gum, some bets with Anthony and Nicholas (that Alexander lost), a snake rental, a garage sale, and all kinds of other things to spend money on.
And now all he has is bus tokens. When he used to be rich last Sunday.
Now Judith Viorst looks at what it's like to be (gulp) fifty.
Writing with the warmth and authenticity that have become her trademarks, Viorst once again demonstrates her uncanny ability to transform our daily realities into poems that make us laugh with recognition. Whether her subject is the decline of the body ("It's hard to be devil-may-care/When there are pleats in your derrière") or future aspirations ("Before I go, I'd like to have high cheekbones./I'd like to talk less like New Jersey, and more like Claire Bloom"), she always speaks directly to our condition. Her funny, compassionate poems shed a reassuring light on the fine art of aging, and will delight anyone who is now (or forever) fifty.
Suddenly Sixty is a funny and touching book that speaks directly to the sixty-ish woman, inviting her to laugh about, sigh over, and come to hopeful terms with the complex issues of this decade of life.
Among the poems in this charmingly illustrated collection are those exploring the joys—and strains—of children and grandchildren, and the intimacy of old friends who’ve ‘known each other so long/We knew each other back when we were virgins.” There are poems that tip their hat to mortality, wrestle with a husband’s retirement —“He’s coming with me when I shop at the supermarket/So I won't have to shop alone. I like alone.”— and acknowledge the fact that at this stage of life we’d “give up a night of wild rapture with Denzel Washington for a nice report on my next bone density test.” Offering plenty of laughs, a few tears, and cover-to-cover truths, these are poems for everyone who would “rather say never say die than enough is enough.” Every woman who has reached this decade will—rueful and smiling—find herself in the pages of this book.