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A Place Called Canterbury: Tales of the New Old Age in America
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A Place Called Canterbury: Tales of the New Old Age in America

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  100 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
An "affectionate, touchingly empathetic" (Janet Maslin, "The New York Times") look at old age in America today Welcome to Canterbury Tower, an apartment building in Florida, where the residents are busy with friendships, love, sex, money, and gossip-and the average age is eightysix. Journalist Dudley Clendinen's mother moved to Canterbury in 1994, planning-like most the in ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Not Avail
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The most enjoyable chapters for me were the more straightforward stories about the residents' experiences, which I suspect were written more directly from the author's interviews. I also thought Clendinen's coverage of the "new old age" was timely.

However, other portions of the book weren't as enjoyable. The author's use of descriptives was excessive and needless. For example, on page 125 in his account of a particularly arduous flight from Florida to New Jersey he includes every state the plane
I purchased this book at a library book sale. Reading the book jacket and the summary on Goodreads I had thoughts of the films Cocoon, Tea with Mussolini, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I was wrong.
This is a long drawn out story of the residents of a nonprofit retirement transition to medical facility for the elderly. The reminisce are too short to be vignettes and jump from remembrance to remembrance in each chapter. There is a bio of probably every single person in the book including all the
Nov 07, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, aging-wisdom
Beautifully written, very honest and revealing, and was a little window into the world of folks who have enough money (not a ton, just enough) to secure a place in this wondrous building. I loved it for the portraits of residents and their relationship to their own life; and love and sex and booze! Encourages an open heart.
Jun 04, 2008 Cindy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I only got a few chapters into this book. It was so bogged down with details about the setting that it just didn't hold my interest. Maybe if I had pushed myself to read further...but I have so many other books in my queue that I'm just going to let this one go.
Jun 28, 2009 Babs rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Read the first few chapters word for word and proceeded to skim through the rest. The book was like a pile of pixie sticks; seemingly no flow and random ramblings. Too bad as the subject is a gold mine of humorous and touching tales.
May 23, 2010 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just OK. Intersting in a few aspects. One is that the book is set locally, so places mentioned are familiar, and their evolution over decades was touched on. The other is that anyone that knew or had a relationship with their grandparents can relate to it in some way. Many of our grandparents will spend some portion of their life in a place like Canterbury, and this book does provide some unique insight in to what it's like. It also gave me a pause to think about what it will be like when my par ...more
My 87-year-old mother, herself a resident with my father in an upscale residential community in Virginia much like the Canterbury of this story, raved about this book. I wasn't disappointed, and it rang true with my experience with my parents and their dear friends. I highly recommend it for anyone who's considering retirement community living or anyone who has loved ones living in such a facility.

The author, a writer and journalist, brings his skills of observation and story-telling to this del
Aug 22, 2013 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to James by: My sister
Shelves: gave-up
Let me say that I DID NOT FINISH this book. I made it to page 180, about halfway, before I had to stop. One night, while reading just before bedtime, I was getting sleepy but wanted to at least finish the section. I looked ahead and found that there was still 6-7 pages to go and I just then decided that I wasn't interested enough to read any more. The book was going into such great detail about these elderly people who all seemed to have similar stories and just weren't all that interesting for ...more
Feb 14, 2016 Janice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was reading this book for my bookclub. Probably wouldn't have read it otherwise. Found it very depressing. Maybe because I am entering that phase of my life and could relate to many of the things in taking care of my mother. This particular place was nice for the people involved since they knew many of the other residents and seemed to just move their social network on to a different place.
The book probably tells us more than we want to know but it was well writen.
I actually would have rated this 3.5, but couldn't make a half-star. This is the author's step into Assisted Living complex where his mother is residing. It takes place in Florida by the beach. As the author's mother - a "strong willed southern lady" adapts to life with geriatrics after the death of her husband. Her son, Dudley, visits her, coming up with the idea of writing a story about the people at Canterbury, often referred to as the "Greatest Generation". He dealves into their lives and di ...more
Oct 15, 2008 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps I found this so enjoyable because a) I live near Tampa and know the setting and b) it describes a community much like the one my grandmother enjoyed. But really? I think it's an excellent examination of life in a continuing care facility - from independent living apartments to nursing care wards - that demonstrates what people want from an elder care community.

Whether one has the experience of grandparents or parents who have lived in such a setting in Florida or elsewhere, this book pro
Jun 30, 2008 Pam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Our family has been consumed with eldercare and end-of-life issues for the last 12 months, so a favorable review of this book caught my attention. The author is an excellent writer with utmost empathy as he tenderly describes the residents & staff of the Canterbury, a retirement home in Tampa, his hometown. His widowed mother moves into the Canterbury, which is already home to many of her friends from her early married days. Clendenin brings in details of the residents' life stories and cont ...more
Aug 30, 2008 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I thought this was an excellent book dealing with what many children will be facing as their parents age. A hard decision but thankfully she had the funds to enable her to live in good surroundings. Much harder would be to have had to put her in a nursing home where life is not so delightful.
His descriptions of Canterbury and the people living and also working there were complete-you could get to know them.
You might think it's a depressing book but it isn't as it deals with people doing the best
Oct 03, 2009 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non -fiction: A journalist very much my age takes on the task of writing - with love and curiosity and without judgment - about the vivid lives and community that his aging mother joins when she needs full time care. I couldn't relate to the need to care for elderly parents who adult children must figure out what to do with/how to redefine their relationship, but I bet many would who are facing this situation. I was intrigued by how he let himself explore what it means to have a whole nother lif ...more
Jan 26, 2016 Christy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aging, nonfiction
Good insights into aging. Wonderful characters.
Mar 05, 2009 Meredith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book for anyone who has a parent! Full disclosure -- my mother lives in the life-care building in Tampa that Dudley writes so movingly about -- and she is featured in the book along with many of her friends and neighbors.

The book is sensitive, lively, amusing, and very, very helpful to anyone dealing with an aging parent (or grandparent). And it provides a window into the kind of retirement community that may be in all our futures...

I can't recommend it enough!

Jan 13, 2011 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well at first I thought this book was depressing. The things that happened to the elderly and what their lives had become, but as the story went on the characters came to life and I felt many emotions while reading this book. The end was bittersweet. I also thought this book was hard to get into at first, because the author jumps around a lot with his thougts, the second part was worth it if you can make it through the begining.
Jul 26, 2011 Phyllis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Top-notch story by a wonderful writer. Clendinen relates the story of his mother's move to a retirement condominium in Tampa, Fl. Clendinen's regard for his mother, and her lifelong Tampa friends shines through. The story is even more compelling and poignant knowing that Clendinen himself has ALS, and has decided on his own fate, while he is still able:

Jul 09, 2008 Cynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, particularly those 50 and older
What a fabulously written account of what happens when normal, fairly wealthy people reach old age. I must also say that at age 52, it has me thinking about a living will, although it didn't really work out for Mrs. Clendinen as the family had hoped. On the other hand, her son's portrayal of her friends and of his tender feelings for her in her decline is a joy to read.
May 06, 2009 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
I'd like to believe I will finish this book one day but I have read enough of it and hear enough about the rest to have a decent gist of it. Sometimes it felt like the author was skipping around between different events in the past and for me that made it harder to follow. It gives a nice view of life at Canterbury Tower though; not as dry as I thought it would be.
Nov 18, 2012 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story begins when the author's mother decides to sell her home after the death of her husband and move into Canterbury, a place in Tampa where people live out the rest of their lives. It's an interesting story of how people live once they've made that decision. Made me think about how I want to live out the rest of my life, should I live that long.
Jul 25, 2008 Nette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nancita
I was completely absorbed by this book, which surprised me because -- an in-depth look at a posh old-age home in Florida? Why would I care? (And, because nobody in my family makes it past 70, it's not something I'll ever need to worry about.) But it was well written and and touching, and I was sorry when it ended.
Oct 20, 2008 June rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The books practically mirrors our family's present reality of dealing with an aging relative who isn't close by. I knew we weren't the only ones dealing with these issues.
The book deals with a serious subject (which many of us will have to face somewhere along the way) with great warmth and humor.
Oct 01, 2008 LK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great biography for those whose parents are approaching the age of dementia. It brought back many memories of when my grandmother lived with me and my experiences of working in a nursing home. Canterbury is a nursing/assisted residence for rich people in Tampa, by the way.
Aug 02, 2008 Vicki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting - a book about "the life I live everyday", seniors aging inplace in an Independent Retirement Community with Assisted Living and Nursing Home, written by an adult child who moves in to live the life of his mom. Too close to home - but well-written.
Mary Frances
Aug 12, 2008 Mary Frances rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: elders, children of elders, anyone who expects to get old
This book was surprising. I picked it up thinking it was another boook about "active adult" communities, but found instead a lovely picture of brave people facing old age and death with strength and hope.
I read every word. Author had a knack of describing the funny, poigniant, and harrowing moments of living in a retirement community as he followed several couples over a 7 year period in Florida.
Laura Cerwinske
Attended his reading at Books and Books in Miami. He said the most delicious deep dark choclatey Southern voice, like Roy Blount Jr reading David Sedaris with the punch of Carson McCullers.

Aug 10, 2008 Mary is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
A great, poignant, captivating read that will make you laugh and cry. Check out an interview with the author on the City of Tampa’s website - Mayor’s BookTalk.
Feb 10, 2010 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology
A look at old age in a retirement home called Canterbury. Overall well written, but with occasional wandering thoughts on some aspect of the story.
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