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Before I Get Old and Wrinkly
Reviewed in issue:
My first impressions of Sheila Steptoe’s book, Before I Get Old and Wrinkly, were quite favourable, with its bright, attractive cover and its consistent, neat layout. After reading the back cover, I settled down looking forward to what I thought would be a self-help book... a read which would end with me having a better understanding of myself through reading the author’s story, and doing her suggested writing exercises.
The book is divided into two parts, books 1 and 2. Book 1 tells the harrowing tale of Ms Steptoe’s life, which is written in the form of a letter to her children. But I found this section to be a let-down – badly written and punctuated, and both rambling and repetitive. I felt let down again by book 2, the ‘activity’ section. It is clearly based on Steptoe’s anecdotal evidence, but it is not robust or rigorous enough to provide the answers that it claims the reader will find.
The ethos behind the book can be summed up on in a single sentence – “Everybody needs good friends” – and I must say that I did like the sayings found under each chapter heading. It’s clear that Ms Steptoe has put much thought into her suggested activities, and they may well have worked for her, but I remain to be convinced.
A disappointing read which isn’t worth its price. This book also needed a thorough going through with an editor’s keen eye and a fine toothed-comb. It needs severe cutting, and much rewriting.
Sheila Steptoe’s heart is obviously in the right place, and she sets out with good intentions. But this book in its present form has fallen far short of its full potential.