[book review] 50 OVER 50 (PS Books)

Cover jpegThe newest collection from PS Books, 50 OVER 50, continues the publishing company’s recent trend of showcasing work by female writers and artists. This time, it’s women over fifty, and the book makes a strong case—through poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from fifty female writers across the country (although many of them are local)—that these writers are no less deserving of recognition than their younger peers.

Several themes emerge throughout 50 OVER 50, but the best pieces examine the nature of family dynamics. In “Amen”, Megan Vered says to a longtime family friend, “You are my mother now”, after Mrs. Vered’s mother has just passed away. The piece explores the idea that these roles of mother, father, son, etc. never change or go away—the only thing that changes is who plays the part.

This idea is further explored in “The Getaway”; Andrea Jarrell writes about how happy she is to see a single mother in her neighborhood dating again, so that the woman’s little boy will have a male role model. Dawn Lowe’s “Beyond Polite Conversation”—the collection’s most emotional piece—explores the opposite idea. After Mrs. Lowe’s son, Derek, commits suicide, she writes, “Derek was my only child and I am no longer a mother.”

It’s worth noting that all three of these pieces are non-fiction, as that is where the collection really shines. A fairly quick read at just under two hundred pages, 50 OVER 50 makes good on its promise that women over fifty have plenty of stories to tell.

[Philadelphia, PS Books. April 2016, ISBN: 9780990471547] psbooksblog.wordpress.com.

[Full disclosure: Carla Spataro, editorial director of PS Books, is also the director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Rosemont College, where this critic is currently enrolled.]

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About the author

Owen Hamill

Owen is a writer and poet living in Philadelphia. He is currently in the M.F.A. Program at Rosemont College.