I’ve often wondered if Gail Sheehy had any idea of what she started when she wrote her revolutionary book—Passages. Could she have imagined that it would change the way millions of women and men around the world would look at the stages of their lives. Passages was named one of the ten most influential books of our times by a Library of Congress survey. The book remained on The New York Times Bestseller List for more than three years and has been reprinted in twenty-eight languages.
Passages really did change my life. I was forty-five when I read it, and like so many of my contemporaries, I felt Gail Sheehy was speaking directly to me. I found my stage of life and read it until I practically memorized it. It appeared to me that life seemed to end before fifty. That must have occurred to Sheehy, as well, because she corrected that abrupt ending by writing New Passages, which coincidently, changed my younger sister’s life.
Sheehy revisited the stages of adult life in several other books. She followed New Passages with Understanding Men’s Passages, The Silent Passage (on menopause), Passages in Caregiving, Sex and the Single Woman, and Sex and the Seasoned Woman.
A world-renowned author, journalist, and popular lecturer, Gail Sheehy has had a fifty-year career in which she has interviewed thousands of people and written seventeen books. As a literary journalist, she was one of the original contributors to New York magazine and a contributing editor to Vanity Fair. After ten years of research, she wrote a biography on Hillary Clinton, Hillary’s Choice. She has covered national and world leaders from Robert Kennedy to Barack Obama and world leaders from Margaret Thatcher to Saddam Hussein. She has received the New York Newswomen’s Club Front Page Award for distinguished journalism and was a three-time winner or finalist for National Magazine Awards. In 2013, she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Books for a Better Life.
Finally, as she passed seventy, Sheehy decided it was about time to look inward. In her memoir about her own passages—DARING: My Passages—she inspires young women to dream big, take risks, and build toward success with meaning by midlife.