Beyond Beige – Sylvie Boulay

Sharing a review of a book is always tricky for me, as a natural and eager over sharer, so I will try to keep my thoughts on Beyond Beige by Sylvie Bouley to a place where you want to get your hands on the book without any spoilers from me.

*This post may contain affiliate links, which if you click through to make a purchase on, will earn me a little bit of income. These will be marked with * for your reference.

“I am old. There was no warning: one minute I was young and the next I tipped into the world of oldwomen. This book is about the joys and horrors of our old age. It will show you the uncensored reality of my experience and that of women who confided in me. You will find humour, despair, and some gritty bits but absolutely no euphemisms.

You will either say ‘Yes, that’s me!’ or ‘Thank goodness this hasn’t happened to me!”

Beyond Beige

As I face the world at almost 50, with one child about to be given the rank of “being an adult” and another one fast flying towards that place, there are definately days when I do feel old. I like to think my mind is still young, but then menopause symptoms give me a nudge and remind me that I am absolutely not. Sometimes that can be a bit, or a lot depressing, depending on what your day looks like and the life you face.

But, I have decided that I want to face my body, mind and life changing and the process of aging, with humour. After all, despite what social media, beauty gurus and people who sell amything that claims to stop the process, we all get old and eventually we die. You can’t stop that. You may as well embrace it and go with the flow.

But you don’t have to do it in monotone, and whilst my suck it all in granny pants from M&S might be beige, I don’t want my life to be. But aging is going to happen and Beyond Beige is a humouros and frank look at that, the process, as our minds and bodies change and we face the process.

Beyond Beige is not a “How to grow old gracefully” or “a pep talk about embracing age” or one of those self help books telling you how to do it better. It’s simply a walk through of illustrations commenting on everything from sex to death, friendship, mental health, memory loss, coping with life as your brain ages. There are even mentions of cats, so you know I am going to be a fan. I can, even now, relate to some of what she talks about, and having older female relatives, can see what she means, even if I don’t know how that feels, yet…

You might look at this book, open it and think “this is just depressing” but actually, it’s not. It’s honest and raw and real. I also think having humour and being realistic about ageing is important and whilst some of what we face, particularly as women, can seem pretty brutal, having some grace for ourselves and being able to smile about the bits we can is important.

I would definitely recommend getting your hands on a copy of Beyond Beige*.

I don’t know whether I can say “thank goodness this hasn’t happened to me” yet, but if it does, then I will face that and carry on. Basically, that’s what aging is about.

Sylvie Boulay is a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and has extensive experience working with clients with addiction problems. Her work has appeared in several journals. Born in Paris, she now lives in London.

Posted in Book reviews and tagged Ageing, Beyond Beige, Sylvie Bouley.