Synopses & Reviews
Thirty years ago, Sara Davidson wrote the phenomenal bestseller Loose Change
, the definitive book about the boomer generations coming-of-age. Now this witty social observer has again turned her discerning eye to her contemporaries, with Leap!, a no-holds-barred, illuminating, and hopeful look at the choices and challenges we face and the roads open to us.
For many years Davidson earned a living as a successful journalist and screenwriter, but in her fifties she saw her life come apart: She could no longer find work, she endured a break-up with her partner, and her children left for college. For the first time ever, she had nothing to do. She felt adrift, but she found that she was not alone.
In Leap!, Davidson sets out on a passionate quest to learn how to do the coming years well. Drawing on her own experience and that of others, she explores such questions as
• How does a high-powered person learn to walk down the ladder gracefully?
• How can women continue to be sensual and not touch-deprived?
• How do we arrange to grow old with our friends?
• What will be the fire at the center of our lives?
• Why are we still here?
Davidson interviews people from across the country and from all walks of life, including such icons as Carly Simon, Tom Hayden, Tracy Kidder, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, and Iman, as well as teachers, writers, psychologists, businesspeople, and spiritual leaders. The candid portraits are both inspiring and cautionary.
True to character, boomers will approach these years differently from previous generations, and there will be no single path. Some will feel free for the first time to take risks; others will embark upon a spiritual search; some will want to give back, to make the world a better place; others will want to play or make creativity a priority. But they will not fade quietly into the sunset.
With Leap!, Sara Davidson holds up a mirror for readers, allowing them to see not only themselves and those around them but their potential future. With Davidson as a guide, the possibilities are boundless.
From the Hardcover edition.
Davidson interviews well-known men and women as well as ordinary citizens on topics such as sex in the age of Cialis, finding meaningful work later in life, having a community to grow old with, and discovering a spiritual path. He then sets out on a passionate quest to learn how to do the coming years well.
Reading Group Guide
1. Have you been through whats described in Leap!
as “the Narrows”? What was it like? Why does Davidson call it “the Narrows”? What different strategies do people in the book use to find their way out?
2. Why was “surrender” painful for the author? Did her understanding of surrender change?
3. Have you considered having plastic surgery or decided against it? Did reading the authors report on a face lift affect your thinking?
4. After resisting the changes that befall her, Davidson visits a friend in North Carolina whos clearing trees to build a community. What happens on that visit that prompts Davidson to yield to change? How do you respond to change?
5. The author explores whether were “hard-wired” to seek a romantic partner. What would you conclude, based on the material presented? What is your own experience?
6. Davidson discovers a great range of sexual behavior after fifty, from those who give it up to the actress who refuses “to go unfucked to my grave.” What intrigued or disturbed you about her reporting on sexuality?
7. The author says were a society of workaholics, but the imperative now is not merely to work but to align yourself with your purpose, your truth. How would you go about doing that?
8. When her TV career collapses, Davidson searches for a new vocation and becomes frustrated. The turning point comes when a high school teacher asks her: If you knew the world was going to end in two days, what would you do? Ask the question of yourself, and see what arises. Whatever that is, are you doing it now? How can you restructure your life to include more of it?
9. Why does the author take a tour of Costa Rica and visit a cohousing community?
10. What examples of “giving back” inspired you?
11. Why do you think the volunteers in India turned against Davidson? What impact did that have on her?
12. The author travels to an ashram to pursue her spiritual quest. What does she learn?
13. Why does Davidson include, in the final chapter, a description of Carolyn Heilbruns suicide? Is there such a thing as “rational suicide”?
14. Whats the purpose of a “life review”? What are the rewards?