Why did I listen to This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism?
I was recently introduced to Ashton Applewhite when she was a guest on the We Can Do Hard Things podcast. I was immediately drawn to her and the way she spoke about aging within a Western and patriarchal society. For those who may not be aware, I have a lengthy background working with the aging. In fact, one of my masters degrees is in gerontology! So it wasn’t very long before I was checking Libby to see if there was a copy of her book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism was available.
What’s the story here?
This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism is an impassioned argument against the negative view of aging. It is organized into chapters that break down ageism, sexuality, memory loss, workplace, health, declining independence, and end of life. Using various credible sources and research, Ashton Applewhite discusses and dismantles the stereotypes associated with older age. Each chapter ends with a section of a call to action asking the reader to look within, learn our own perspectives regarding ageism, and potential ways to change them.
How did I like This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism?
I really enjoyed This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism. Right from the very beginning I felt myself nodding along to what was being said. One of the things that I always tried to fight against when caring for older adults was the misconceptions that people had about them. As I was listening to this book though I realized that I too was participating in ageism by being surprised at times that someone “so old” could still look “so young” or that they could still do certain things. It really is a concept that is ingrained in us from a relatively young age.
The way that the chapters were broken down made it easy to follow and easy to understand. I liked the way that each chapter ended with a call to action as to how we may be able to restructure our thinking and actions in order to remove ageism from our society. The term ageism is a mainly Western world concept and really took root as people began living longer. Instead of looking at these individuals as people with wisdom, we look upon them as people who are a burden, and we fear before a burden ourselves.
Ashton Applewhite touches on the intersections between age, race, class, and sex but, I do wish she had gone a little bit further. There were a few times where I felt that she just repeated herself or kind of trailed off without going into full detail instead of explaining the links between these topics. It often felt like a perspective of someone who was white and middle class which honestly is more or less true. This just demonstrated that the author is human like the rest of us and has her own biases to work through.
How is the narration?
This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism is narrated by the author Ashton Applewhite and is eight hours and 45 minutes long. I listened to it at 1.5x speed and felt it flowed so well together. Yes, the chapters are long, and occasionally repetitive but, they are also well researched. They are also set up in almost blurb like blog posts where you could easily pause in between segments to go do something else. I love when the author is the narrator because you can hear the passion they have for their work in their voice. Ashton Applewhite most definitely has passion for her work against ageism and does not appear to be backing down any time soon. She is old and she’s bold and our society needs to learn to accept this.
Rating: 4 Stars
**Audiobook Review layout courtesy of Good Books and Good Wine**