Barbara Rose Brooker, who wanted to publish a book about sex after 70
Imagine the show Sex in the City, but where all the main characters are over 65. They go on dates, seek the men of their dreams, are preoccupied with their careers, and — in their free time — discuss funny details of their intimate lives with their girlfriends. Can’t imagine it? That´s too bad.
That’s exactly what happens in an autobiographical novel called Viagra Diaries, written by 75-year-old Barbara Rose Brooker.
Barbara Rose Brooker spent the majority of her life working in literature and never imagined that her biggest career success would come at 75.
“When I turned 60, I realized that our society is filled with monstrous prejudices in relation to age,” she recalls. “This made me very angry.”
Brooker decided to write a novel that would destroy ageist stereotypes. Her protagonist — Ann Applebaum — is a 70-year-old journalist. She’s been divorced for 30 years, and is trying hard to improve her personal life and achieve literary recognition.
“Ann Applebaum is 90 per cent me,” Brooker explains. “Nearly everything in the book comes either from my experiences or from those of my friends. I don’t write what I don’t know.”
From Barbara Rose Brooker’s personal experience, we can deduce that it is difficult for men and women to find mutual understanding at any age.
“Do you believe in true love?” the protagonist asks.
Her companion frowns, “I believe in Viagra.”
The characters in this book date, fall in love, try to impress each other, get into awkward situations: in other words, live full and active lives in every sense, despite the fact that they are all well over 60.
The first publisher to whom Brooker showed her manuscript refused to even read it.
“A novel about a 70-year-old woman who has sex and is building her career? That is sickening,” he said. The rest of the publishers responded in similar, albeit less harsh, manners.
Brooker didn’t believe the skeptics and published the book herself. It´s a good thing she did. The first run of 10,000 sold easily and critics loved the novel. Brooker started receiving interview requests from various TV shows. A huge American publishing house — Simon and Schuster — expressed interest in The Viagra Diaries and obtained the rights for a second printing. Besides that, Brooker sold the manuscript to a few European publishers and the book is now being translated into a number of languages, including Russian.
Then, the most interesting thing happened. Viagra Diaries caught the attention of Darren Star, producer of Sex in the City, Beverly Hills 90210, and other highly successful shows. Star decided to shoot a new HBO series, based on Brooker’s novel. Following Viagra Diaries, Barbara Rose Brooker wrote more books — To Be Continued… and Should I Sleep in his Dead Wife’s Bed? among them.
Brooker calls herself, her characters, and all women over 60 who maintain an active interest in life “Boomer Hotties.”
“Modern society believes that love, dating, sex, and career are not for us. But in reality, we need all of that, no matter what age we are,” she says.
Barbara Rose Brooker is convinced:
Ageist prejudices that exist in modern society are just as unjust as homophobia or racism.