“We can be grateful for everything that led us to the moment we are inhabiting. This is how life becomes sacred. It is hallowed by story.” Cultural therapist, Mary Pipher’s latest book, Women Rowing North, is an invitation to live gratefully and thereby live into the sacredness of the story of our lives.
Pipher’s Reviving Ophelia, published in 1994, a study of the pressures and angsts of adolescent girls in North America, quickly became a best-seller. Another Country, which followed some years later, was an encouragement for a generation who were caring for their elderly parents. In this latest book, Pipher writes for her own generation, women who are nearing and in their 60-plus years.
Women Rowing North works well as a metaphor. As age moves women forward, the varied experiences of their lives move them onward in one direction like the flow of a river. Pipher draws on a variety of life stories, dropping them and then picking them up again, the threads throughout the book. Encouragement for herself and others on this journey and the overall benefits of living with gratitude are the reader’s primary takeaways. Women are themselves ideally suited to be each other’s best listeners and encouragers. Pipher, herself just entering her 70s, finds the words “poignant” and bittersweet” as best for describing this time in a woman’s life.
Pipher’s words speak wholeness even into difficult and broken situations. Female readers will be buoyed up by this book, and male readers might experience a renewed admiration and love for the women in their lives as they row north together. (Bloomsbury)