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Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (Or Die Trying)
By Bill Gifford
Grand Central Publishing / Hachette
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
I've been on a kick recently of self-help books that have to do with aging, health and what steps we can take in our daily lives in order to increase the quality of both these subjects; and Bill Gifford's Spring Chicken is the latest of these, notable not just for having a snarky sense of humor but for also just as much covering what you can't do in order to help yourself out as what you can. In fact, this is one of the central premises of the entire book, is just how "natural" versus "controllable" the subject of aging is in the first place; is the process of our cells growing older and less efficient something inherent to human existence on this earth, or are there things we could be doing to slow this process down, perhaps even to live forever barring any catastrophic events like getting hit by a bus? Gifford's funny, cynical answer is essentially, "Uh, no," but he definitely takes the long way to get there, looking at both the legitimate things going on in the real medical world when it comes to these kinds of questions, as well as such quackery as Suzanne Sommers injecting her vagina with human growth hormones and all kinds of other nightmarish mental images. Not really a "how-to" book in the way that so many of these others are, this is nonetheless a highly entertaining survey of all the latest scientific knowledge in the 2010s on the subject of aging, one that despite the skeptical tone is punctuated here and there with actual real (albeit small and self-evident) things you can be doing in your life to help the process along. It comes recommended to those specifically seeking books on the subject.
Out of 10: 8.5, or 9.0 for those specifically seeking knowledge on aging