Madeleine Kunin has led a fascinating life and she gives us the broad strokes of her many illustrious careers, including as Vermont’s four-term governor, in her new memoir. From the untouched jacket portrait of her beautiful 85 year old self, to her eloquent, alternately humorous and movingly sad musings about transitioning into old age, this book reflects an honesty and self acceptance of aging that is an inspiration. A rich bonus are her beautifully descriptive poems that enhance her innermost thoughts. — Barbara Morrow
Many readers are already familiar with Madeleine Kunin, the former three-term governor of Vermont, who served as the deputy secretary of education and ambassador to Switzerland under President Bill Clinton. In her newest book, a memoir entitled Coming of Age: My Journey to the Eighties, the topic is aging, but she looks well beyond the physical tolls and explores the emotional ones as well. And she has had an extraordinary life: governor, ambassador, feminist, wife, mother, professor, poet, and much, much more.
As recently reported in the New York Times, a girl born today can expect to live to the age of ninety, on average (boys, on the other hand, can expect to live until age eighty-five). Life expectancy, for many, is increasing, yet people rarely contemplate the emotional changes that come alongside the physical changes of aging. Madeleine wants to change that. Coming of Age: My Journey to the Eighties takes a close and incisive look at what it is like to grow old. The book is a memoir, yet most important of all, it is an honest and positive look at aging and how it has affected her life.
Cover photo © Todd Lockwood.
Governor Kunin has written three previous books: Living a Political Life (Knopf), and The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family (New York Times Editor's Choice) and Pearls Politics and Power. She has more energy than two 40-year-olds. She is currently James Marsh Scholar Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont where she gives lectures on feminism and women and politics. She also serves on the board of the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), a nongovernmental organization that she founded in 1991, and she recently launched Emerge Vermont to encourage and support women in politics. She lives in Shelburne, Vermont.
Author photo by Paul Boisvert.