BOOK REVIEWS: Older Women Can Inspire Others; 50 over 50: Extraordinary Women, Extraordinary LIves, by Debbie Rowe & Tracey Larcombe. Dewi Lewis Media. Pounds 15.99. Reviewed by Vivienne Morgan

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Byline: Reviewed by Vivienne Morgan

Before reading 50 Over 50, I feared it was exactly the kind of book I wouldn't like. Dreading a non-fiction version of chick lit, I guessed it would be packed with gratingly motivational, pseudo-feminist, self-help guff.

Why not, I thought, have a book about Extraordinary People, Extraordinary Lives?

Why the need to single out women? Surely an ability to achieve great things or transcend life's vicissitudes is no more singular or meritorious just because you're female? Wasn't gender apartheid just a bit, well, passe?

How wrong I was.

This is a great book, packed with fascinating accounts from exceptional women: of who they are, what they've done, how they think, what they've learnt and why ageing is not an inevitable process of decline.

Being some way off 50 myself, it was also a good reminder that opportunities I take for granted were either incredibly rare or nonexistent for women of previous generations. …