Mary Pipher, a psychologist and author of Reviving Ophelia, believes that her generation of baby boomers must forge a closer bond with the world of their parents those who now reside in the country of old age. The goal of this salutary and informative book is to help these two generations understand each other. Pipher uses interviews with individuals in their 70s and older alongside some with their children.
What separates and isolates young and middle-aged people from the emotional terrain of their elders? Pipher points to the movement from a communal to an individualistic culture, the great divide created by psychology, and the real differences between the generations that she calls "time-zone problems." For example, baby boomers and their elders have very divergent attitudes toward authority, expressing feelings, irony, and R-rated movies.
Pipher compares the plight of many older people to the feeling of being overwhelmed by events experienced by victims of post-traumatic stress disorder. She counsels baby boomers to follow the example of primal cultures where elders are respected as great repositories of wisdom. There is much they can teach us about time, relationships, gratitude, civility, accountability, and community. Pipher has provided a great moral service to us with her ideas on reconnecting the generations so that each can be enriched.