Top positive review
Delightful due to liberties
Reviewed in the United States on May 7, 2020
This was a nice, feel good story, about ...elderly? No. Old people. The main character is 80. I think the story would have been plausible if our heroine had been at least ten years younger. As many other reviewers have pointed out, serious issues in the book were glossed over and treated with a simplistic perspective. The woman was a hoarder for at least a decade, and she completely recovered after just two weeks of talking with a social worker. She has agoraphobia, but after those two weeks, she is traveling to unknown places, on her own--at 80 years of age.
I read the reviews before I read the book, so I went in ready to forgive those liberties taken by the author. What I couldn't get past or pretend to believe was the rocking good health and fitness this octogenarian and her cohorts enjoyed. At 80, she climbs a flight of steps, shops, sightsees, does heavy housecleaning, sleeps on the floor, and other physically demanding tasks that are difficult for most people over age 65. She is totally unprepared for old age, too. It's not like she is Jane Fonda, who worked out and took care of her body in midlife.
I loved the message in the story that says we do not stop living because we age, which is a delightful truth. But this was shown by having an 80 year old living physically like someone half her age! I would have preferred that our leading lady had more realistic adventures. She would take some medications, use a walker; have a hearing aid. She would need to chose her adventures according to her energy level and health restrictions. These are facts of getting older and there is no shame in them being a part of one's life. I wish the story had shown more of the wisdom that only those who have lived long can impart.
Still, I enjoyed the story. It was fast paced with witty dialogue. I love reading stories about elderly people though few of them seem to present the realities of being older. I loved the British slang and laugh out loud moments in this book. Despite the author's taking many liberties, it's definitely worthwhile read.