Sixty Somethings: The Lives of Women who remember the Sixties

The title of this book, Sixty Somethings: The Lives of Women who remember the Sixties, says it all. Grace and I are both women over 60 and whilst, I was a child in the sixties, I can still remember that decade. Change was in the air but I knew no different so to me it was the norm.

This is a lively and entertaining account that looks back over the lives of 67 middle-class sixtysomething women who lived through that tumultuous decade. It begins with looking at their memories of their grandparents and parents and how their experiences differed. We find out what it was like then and what they are doing now.

Julie Walters, the well-known actress, was convent educated and then became a nurse before she gave it all up to take up an acting career. We learn about Lissa who worked in fashion in Carnaby Street, the epi-centre of hip at the time, whilst also being a part-time model.

All of the women in the book were born shortly after the end of the Second World War. They were more independent than the previous generation, managing their own finances and working whilst being married and having children.

I related to the fact that most of them do not think of themselves as old. They are fighting fit, independent, and many work part-time still.

This is such an entertaining book especially if you did not live through that decade, or like Grace and I were only children. The fashion of Biba, Mary Quant, Ossie Clark, gamine models like Twiggy, the liberating contraceptive pill, hippies, protests and those geometric haircuts by Vidal Sassoon.

I am quite fascinated by social history so found this a really absorbing read. I think any women who lived through the Sixties would be interested in reading this partly to reminisce but also to compare their experiences with those of the women featured. Younger women like myself may be interested in getting a perspective on what life was like for their mother’s generation.

It is all there and more, a lively history lesson of that colourful decade told through the eyes of those that lived and partied through those years. I would definitely recommend this book, Sixty Somethings by Nicola Madge and Paul Hoggart.

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