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Gray Is the New Black

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  58 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Feminism. Boomers. Ageism. Binge-Eating Disorder. Sexual Abuse. Women's Studies. The 1960s. The wry and relatable narrator of GRAY IS THE NEW BLACK--a memoir of ageism, sexism and self-acceptance--came of age in the psychedelic sixties. Now in her sixties, it's time to take stock. After decades struggling to be thin enough, pretty, sexy and suc ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published June 1st 2019 by Otis Books - Seismicity Editions
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  58 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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c2 cole
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Highly enjoyable memoir from a middle boomer that is by turns funny, sad, hopeful and in the end more or less accepting of how life is. Many questions raised about relationships, beauty, purpose, the difficulty of making changes. At its core is a traumatic adolescence which resonates for years to come.

The author comes to terms with her current marriage to a retired engineer with some of the pitfalls engineers and probably many other men provide. At times I did want to nudge her into trying to w
S. Bavey
Nov 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gray is the New Black is a book about reaching a certain age and realizing you don’t feel comfortable in your skin with its age related flaws, added weight, lack of fitness, inability to lose weight as quickly, grey hair, wrinkles and the lack of self-confidence that go hand in hand with all of the above. Add into the mix the author’s predilection for binge-eating sugary sweets and a related tendency for migraine and you have to feel sorry for her while also rooting for her to value what she has ...more
Story Circle Book Reviews
Sep 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Sixty-three-year-old Dorothy Rice is feeling fat, old, and unloved. Her youngest daughter has left for college and she’s convinced her husband is only staying in the marriage out of habit. She frequently binge-eats in secret, often to the point that she literally makes herself sick. And she’s spent far more time helping others work on their writing than she’s spent working on her own.

Inspired by her sister’s suggestion that they embrace their advanced age and rock their naturally gray hair, and
Marilyn Guggenheim
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I plowed through this memoir for its hard-earned wisdom so critical for modern Americans, such as: “I’ve spent a lifetime lamenting what isn’t... Does my piano have more than one insistent sour note to plink?...Have I changed at all, made any progress at all? I believe I have, though not in the clear, straightforward ways I’d hoped for.”
I point to American readers because our consumerism takes different shapes in other wealthy countries, but here the dream of unlimited freedom to define ourselve
Ronald Mackay
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dorothy Rice offers a candid, unashamed view of her personal history in a determined effort to come to terms with everything and everyone – including herself -- who has contributed to her turning into a middle-aged woman with issues. Some of her issues are deeply buried; some all too apparent to her and to anybody who looks at her. In easy flowing conversational language, the author grapples openly and honestly with each and every one of them in her happily successful attempt to find solace, rel ...more
Patrick Burns
Mar 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I loved this honest, brave memoir. The author takes us on the ups and downs of a year in which she aims to "get her shit together" by examining her current behavior and her past. There are heavy moments and epiphanies but also lots of laughs and delicious writing. Highly recommend! ...more
Mama K
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book when I saw it compared to Nora Ephron. But, alas, I found it depressing rather than humorous and self deprecating.
I do admire Rice's honesty and grit, but i wanted to be uplifted not downtrodden.
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Billy Buttons
Aug 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:
Author: Dorothy Rice

Star Rating: 5 Stars
Number of Readers: 17
Editing: 9/10
Writing Style: 9/10
Content: 10/10
Cover: 8/10
Of the 17 readers:
15 would read another book by this author.
14 thought the cover was good or excellent.
17 felt it was easy to follow.
16 would recommend this book to another reader to try.
Of all the readers, 5 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘subject kno
Polly Hansen
Mar 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Here is a heartbreakingly and boldly honest memoir about dealing with the consequences of unresolved trauma from youth. I felt like I was reading about a twin sister, which made me think how many hundreds and thousands of women in their 60s, or all ages, really, that have similar stories to tell. This is a #MeToo story told with unflinching honesty, the gaze directed inward at the author's faults that perpetuated the harm she experienced, but squarely blaming the perpetrator as well.

Rice and I
Elizabeth Rynecki
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I met author Dorothy Rice at a book event we did together a few years ago. When I learned of her latest book (a personal memoir), I knew I wanted to read it. Dorothy's writing is searingly honest and beautiful. In Gray is the New Black she reveals her life story - the natural ups and downs of life as well as the humiliating and embarrassing low-points, all in a set of essays that use a one year writing workshop as an opportunity to reflect on the twists and turns of her life. The writing is alwa ...more
May 26, 2021 rated it liked it
This is the memoir of the author’s attempt to remake her body and her life in a year. Spoiler: she did not succeed. At the beginning when it appeared it was all going to be about letting her hair grow out gray, I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish this book. Then she segued into her compulsive overeating, the story of being raped as a teenager, and her problems in her third marriage. I kept reading. Throughout the year, she tried and failed and tried again. She went to fat camps and writers’ camps, ...more
Carole Duff
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
When the author decides to let her glorious, long black hair go grey, going “natural” becomes part of a one-year project to examine her real self now that her last child has left for college. Why not improve her marriage, lose weight, and write a memoir, too? She writes about her abusive past, her unsatisfying relationship with her husband, her addiction to sugar and obsession with body image. A great deal of the book’s real estate is taken up by the author’s self-loathing. She’s not convinced t ...more
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
Thank you to Otis Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Not so much a memoir as a stream of consciousness that meanders through the period of a year, during which the author makes an effort to come to grips with her past and look to her future. Some of this is successful, e.g. unpacking past events and thought patterns that led to extreme self-doubt and shame, and some is less successful, e.g. her unhappiness with her weight. Certainly the latter is greatly influenced b
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
I read this book as an Advance Copy from NetGalley.com. Surprisingly- as I am not the target audience for this memoir- I really enjoyed it. Dorothy Rice is in her early 60s - has earned an MFA after a corporate career and is at a crossroads. She has decided to spend a year to write a book with a writing group. This memoir is her story - perhaps the product of her year. She reflects on her life - her husband - her eating and sugar addiction issues - her relationship with her husband- her family - ...more
Christy Stillwell
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gray is the New Black is a memoir structured within one year, from January to January, in which the author attempts to accept herself as she is, letting go of past hurt and shame in order to pursue writing seriously, take stock of her marriage and find a way forward out of her empty nest. I am not generally a fan of memoir but the honesty of the language and the author's willingness to examine bad decisions made this book a page turner for me. Rice examines the men of her past, takes an honest l ...more
Heather Scott Partington
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: Dorothy Rice is a good friend.

Dorothy Rice's memoir, Gray is the New Black, is a quiet memoir. The author described it to me as such, and that is incredibly apt. But this book is no whisper. This is a poignant and wry look at the author's life, the kind of memoir that reminds us of how the genre can celebrate the uniqueness of an individual life. GITNB chronicles Rice's year of self-acceptance: she lets her hair grow gray and vows to come to terms with both her weight and some d
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read Gray is the New Black in about a day; I was riveted by Dorothy Rice's ability to "put herself out there" no matter the subject material, sharing with us the high points and low points of her life and in particular the year in which she swore to heal herself. With unfailing honesty, humor and empathy for some of life's most difficult and intimate issues - the difficult work that goes into making a marriage, coming to terms with current and past shames, striving to find inner peace and cont ...more
May 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this raw, unflinching look at what it means to be a "mature" woman. Dorothy Rice has struggled with weight issues and feelings of shame and being "less than," surrounded by two sisters--one of whom is tiny and beautiful, and the other dazzlingly funny. Rice recounts her journey over the course of one year. We see her successes as well as her lows. She takes us into the past by writing the story of her sexual assault. She ponders what it means to have a successful relationship -- what d ...more
Catherine Marshall-smith
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In her memoir, GRAY IS THE NEW BLACK, Dorothy Rice faces it all, sexual assault, ageism, eating disorders and the marital discord that accompany coming of age in the patriarchal culture of the 60's and 70's in northern California. Her story, which reads like a novel, so resonated with me, I blushed while reading. It is riveting because of Rice's willingness not to look away from her own emotional warts. I prefer the truth to a tidy ending always. I respect the strength she showed in writing it. ...more
Shelley Blanton-Stroud
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this memoir, Rice is so honest, so willing to say exactly the truth that reveals her life, the many stages of it. We enter the book during one particular year, as she tries to write her way into the reasons for her self doubts. She explores her memory and feelings about her adolescence in the sixties, about the abuse she experienced, the way she blamed herself, as so many women do. She explores the way that has influenced her present life, her marriage, her feelings about her writing and abou ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's an entertaining and interesting book, the kind of book that makes you smile and give food for thought as you think that some situations are similar to yours.
A good read especially if you're over 40.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Cheryl Fish
Sep 26, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Dorothy Rice takes us into her world of binge eating, self-sabotage, romance, sexual assault, marriage, and struggles with body acceptance, with unflinching honesty and generousity. You will most likely find some aspect of yourself in this well-written memoir about a year of setbacks and transformation.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was unsure about this book at first, but as I got into it, I really loved it. As we get older, life just goes forward...ready or not. This was perfect book to read at my stage in life.

Thanks to author,publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
Ellen Pichey
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A well written book, it is both humorous and painful at times as it touches on the author’s struggle to come to peace with herself. Many readers (if honest with themselves) will find familiar themes that echo after the reading.
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Introspective. Honest. Vulnerable. Powerful. Brave. Beautiful.
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dorothy digs deep! I was riveted.
W. Neilsen Neilsen
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Jan 19, 2022
Linda B McCabe
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Nov 14, 2020
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Jan 12, 2022
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Dorothy Rice is the author of two memoirs, Gray Is The New Black (Otis Books, 2019) and The Reluctant Artist (Shanti Arts, 2015). At 60, following a career in environmental protection and raising five children Dorothy Rice earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California Riverside (Palm Desert campus). Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Brain, Child Magazine, The Rumpus ...more

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