the doctor is in: A Review of Dr. Ruth’s latest book

 

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, better known as just Dr. Ruth, has become my newest role model. After reading her latest book, the doctor is in: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre (with Pierre A. Lehu), I am a new fan. Recently, she was featured in AARP Magazine with her dollhouses, a heartfelt hobby that allows her to recreate in miniature the home she lost when she became an orphan at age 10, having lost her family in the Holocaust of WWII. When her book was listed, I knew I wanted a copy.

While I have always known her as a sex therapist, I did not know much about her childhood trauma, one that would make any child lose her joie de vivre, love for life.
On page 17, Dr. Ruth writes:  “Truly, joie de vivre is about embracing the best ways to enjoy life.” She then explains how the French word blasé is the opposite of this. “Instead of being amazed, you are always bored.”

This explanation is the foundation of her helpful book written in such an easy conversational tone that I felt I was actually listening to her in a lecture instead of reading her words on a page.

Even the chapter titles reflect her message of living life to the fullest. Here are some of the titles:

Chap. II: Always Move Forward
Chap. III: Embrace Your Passions and Your Beliefs
Chap. VI: Enjoy the Crazy Turns Life Takes
Chap. IX: Take Risks
Chap. X: Recognize That It Is Never Too Late

In between there are chapters about her life, personal facts that make her own joie de vivre believable. Torn from her family, she is alone (with other children like herself), then lives on a kibbutz in Israel, also lives France and then the United States. Dr. Ruth writes about her own love life: three husbands, two children, four grandchildren, and perhaps a late-life boyfriend.

Because my website is about older women, I was especially interested in the last chapter before the question & answer Epilogue. At 86 and 4’7” this tiny dynamo  speaks with confidence and self-knowledge about recognizing that it is never too late to pursue your dreams. And in this chapter she reveals something about herself that makes the book title even more relevant: “To some extent, I feel I am living life not just for myself but for those who passed away.” (p. 164) I believe she is pointing directly to her parents and grandparents who did not survive Hitler’s maniacal insanity to purify the human race by murdering millions of citizens (Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, etc.)

Throughout the book she does talk about sex and how to approach it with joie de vivre, especially as one grows older. I feel her book is more about life itself, with sex only one portion, so I have not focused on the sexual aspects. However, the next-to-the last paragraph of the last chapter speaks directly to the focus of my website: menopause and beyond, or the term that Margaret Meade so aptly coined: PMZ-post-menopausal zest. This paragraph not only addresses older women, but also the theme of the book:

“There are some women who expect their sex life to wither and die once they go through menopause. With that expectation, that’s exactly what happens. But there are others who come to the realization that sex without the risk of getting pregnant is better than ever. Their sex lives bloom after menopause, especially if their kids leave them with an empty nest and the added privacy that it brings.”

I am inspired by Dr. Ruth’s words, her book, and by the dynamic woman herself. The book, the doctor is in, is available in stores and online. (Hard copy $24.95, Amazon Publishing) Dr. Ruth can also be reached at www.drruth.com as well as on YouTube and Twitter. At 86, she still teaches at Columbia University’s Teacher College in New York City, where she has lived in the same apartment for more than 50 years. I could not have chosen a better new role model!


4 Responses to “the doctor is in: A Review of Dr. Ruth’s latest book”

  1. Mary-Lou Meyers Says:

    I like the fact that you emphasize “zest for life,” rather than just the sexual aspect as I am finding
    as a widow that children engender a real bounce and zest for living, they don’t totally withdraw
    when tragedy strikes because their life blood is always simmering just below the surface, they may cry and pause but they don’t totally submerge into a state of Depression, and embrace the smallest Natural miracle to focus on which will restore them to a state of equilibrium.

  2. Paula Says:

    I met Dr. Ruth at a Teachers College meeting in Hempstead, L. I. I taught her a sign (sign language), which she had me share with the audience. I’ll show it to you one day. Smiles.

  3. ellen sue spicer Says:

    I’m jealous!!! Would you see if we can go to one of her classes in NYC? es

  4. ellen sue spicer Says:

    Wow! That’s very true. Again, we learn from our children. thanx, ellensue

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