Jewish Week Feature

Madeleine May Kunin’s memoir “Coming of Age: My Journey to the Eighties” (Green Writers Press) introduces its chapters with brief poems based on themes like downsizing, independence, love late in life, being alone and “How will I die?” Kunin was the first woman elected governor of Vermont, former U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and U.S. deputy secretary of education — and the first Jewish woman to be elected governor of any U.S. state. Now a professor-at-large at the University of Vermont and activist on behalf of women in politics, she is feisty, funny, introspective, unafraid and wise as she adjusts to what she calls old age, looking both back and ahead at her future. She is a most appealing guide through this territory. While she doesn’t glorify old age, she proceeds thinking “the more life, the better,” seeing aging as a new stage of development in which she continues to learn and find joy.

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