Drinking Problems at the Fountain of Youth is the new novel by journalist and social observer Beth Teitell. The title won’t hit bookstores till October, but I had the chance to read an uncorrected proof and while I’m not typically a fan of the pseudo-self help books, and when it comes to approaching the topic of age, fashion, and fading beauty no one, in my book, can compare to Judith Viorst, I found Teitell’s novel to be an easy and worthwhile read.
Residing in New York, being fashion and beauty conscious, and living in an age where 20-somethings are having preventive cosmetic work done, it’s easy to get caught-up in $1350 pots of Crème de la Mer, Botox, and feeling old at a decidedly young age.
Teitell uses humor and a keen perspective to explore, what she calls, Seinfeldian issues – if everyone around you has work done and you don’t, do you look older by comparison, she asks as she explores the modern malady referred to as age shame. The underlying message in the novel is that the rampant war on aging is harming us all and that the secret to the fountain of youth isn’t to work on your own appearance, but to blind others to your flaws. While personally the notion that if you make others feel good about themselves you’ll look better to them, doesn’t strike me as the answer to prevailing over our youth-obsessed culture, I enjoyed Teitell’s take on anti-aging gummi bears, Vitamin E wrinkle masks, short skirts, suburban hair helmet, and more.
Teitell has previously written From Here to Maternity, is a correspondent for the Boston Globe Style & Arts section, and writes a column for the paper’s monthly fashion magazine Fashion Boston. Her sharp wit has landed her work in countless outlets ranging from the Washington Post to Daily Candy.