Author Spotlight: Jennifer DiVita

Jennifer DiVita keeps a lot of balls in the air as a TV personality, aging influencer, sought-after speaker, newly published author, and most importantly mom and ‘wifey’.

After getting her degree in broadcasting and journalism, at the age of 31, Jennifer DiVita was told she was ‘too seasoned’ to be on TV.  So she transitioned to the field of gerontology (geron-what, you ask), which is the study of being ‘too seasoned’, where she’d fit right in. Fifteen years later, she’s now a bona fide expert in aging and uses humor to address the upside of going down over the hill. She was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in W. Michigan. Her expertise (plus her mid-life gaffes and extensive shoe collection) inspired her to write Not Your Shoe Size to encourage women that life is not just about surviving the later years but thriving in them.

She discovered her ‘humerus’ bone after winning a comedy speech competition in 2016 and used her flair for humor to capture the wit and charm of finding the silver lining after becoming silver. She’s come to terms that she’s much funnier on paper than in real life. In real life, the punch lines usually come three days later which is why writing comedy is so much more effective for her.

Not Your Shoe Size has been compared to the grown-up version of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Except in this case it’s fiction and it’s about aging, but if you squint real hard, you’ll see the similarities. It’s edutainment because you’ll learn a little and laugh a little.

Jennifer uses the pen name DiVita because when she marries her fiancé she’ll become Jennifer DiVita. DiVita means ‘of life’ in Italian which sounds far more poetic than her current German last name Feuerstein, which loosely means hot beer.

In her day job, she’s Associate State Director of AARP Michigan (which is how she learned all the nuggets of positive aging). Ironically after becoming an aging expert, she returned to TV with WOOD TV 8 and ABC 4 nine years ago where she co-hosts two TV shows and produces 30-second commercials and is doing more TV than ever at the age of 50. Her platform? Being ‘too seasoned.’

DiVita wrote a companion book club kit to enhance your reading of Not Your Shoe Size. It’s full of questions, activities, behind-the-scenes secrets, and fun to enjoy by yourself or with a group of girlfriends. It can be downloaded for free at jenniferdivita.com/book-club.

You can connect with Jennifer on Facebook (Facebook.com/JenniferDivitaBooks) or on her webpage JenniferDiVita.com. You can find her TV blog at woodtv.com/author/Jennifer-feuerstein/

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Reviews:

“A tour de force… masterful… DiVita’s storytelling rich in humor and heart is a must-read.”

~A Look Inside: Books, Movies & Music

“Sharp and funny. The women’s moments relatable and engaging.”

~Publisher’s Weekly

“One delightful journey. It will make you laugh, cry, and relate to this wonderful art of aging.”

~NPR Radio Host, Shelley Irwin

Synopsis:  

Julia and Colette are life-long best friends who couldn’t age more differently. Julia is a goody-two-shoes who embraces her gray hair, wrinkles, and geriatric sneakers. Colette is as tough as old boots and relentlessly chases after the elusive fountain of youth wearing stilettos. Growing up and growing old together, they clash decade by decade, starting when they’re ten and are forced to write their own obituaries for homework. Their assignment? Live to 100.

Despite being at odds on whether to embrace their age or defy it, they journey through life competing to see who reaches the finish line not first, but best. Their fierce loyalty, endearing friendship, and shared experiences—from puberty to menopause—are challenged by the ups and downs of life. And the older they get the more they realize it just might be the other woman who’s learned the secret to aging well in an ageist society.

Not Your Shoe Size is a coming-of-age story told through a series of witty and poignant vignettes that will strike at the osteoporotic funny bone of those who are trying to figure out how to bloom in every stage of life. Filled with nuggets of truth from a gerontologist’s toolkit, DiVita’s debut novel is big-hearted and full of funny milestones all women will relate to.

Read an excerpt:

I walked to the stage and slowly climbed the steps. My knees were rickety, and I felt them buckle with nerves that overshadowed my confidence. I pulled the mic off the stand, and without hesitation, I let it all out. Years of humor, hidden inside of me, came bursting forth.

“Aging will find you. Getting old will find you. Wrinkles, age spots, and gray hair will find you. But who said it has to be a bad thing? There are many upsides of going down over the hill. Here’s how I see it—if I could see through the cataracts.”

The audience laughed, and I was just getting started. Maybe I wouldn’t crash and burn after all. I continued. “They say—whomever they are—you’ve reached your peak at forty. You’re at the top of your game, and when you turn fifty, apparently, it’s all downhill from there.

“But I’ve learned there’s an upside of going down over the hill. When you turn fifty, even if your friends and family forget your birthday, AARP won’t. AARP will be there to remind you. Months before your fiftieth birthday, membership applications will flood your mailbox, boldly acknowledging you’re eligible to join the prestigious discount club. AARP won’t let your fiftieth slip by the way family members do. At the same time, you’ll finally discover a benefit to being married—your spouse gets an AARP membership for free. That’s the upside of going down over the hill.

“In your sixties—somewhere after sixty-two—you’ll enjoy the sweet reward of having some of your hard-earned money returned to you. It’s like a paycheck without having to work. It’s called social security. Forget the blood, sweat, and tears from working tirelessly for decades. You will eventually be repaid a pauper’s pittance of the money you loaned interest-free to the government. You’ll enjoy a paycheck for the rest of your life without ever lifting a finger again. That’s the upside of going down over the hill.

“In your seventies, you’ll likely be widowed or divorced, maybe even twice. But you’ll enjoy the largest classified dating section for seniors—the obituaries. It’s a free dating platform. No joke. I’ve tried it. You’ll bypass the interview process of a first date by reading up on how many children, and even great-grandchildren, the widower has. You’ll learn how loyal they are. If the obituary reads, Survived by a devoted and loving spouse, they must be a good catch. Plus, you can check out the prospect anonymously by attending the wake of their deceased loved one. And you’ll find out how good-looking they are because they’ll never look worse than they do at their spouse’s funeral. If you find them attractive then, you know they’ll only get better looking. The obituaries are a fabulous dating resource. And that’s the upside of going down over the hill.

“When you’re in your eighties, eighty-five never looked so good. That’s the percentage you’ll pay on your Denny’s bill as a senior. Flash your ID—in case there’s any mistaking you as an older person—and you’ll save 15 percent on all-you-can-eat pancakes, saving you a whopping sixty cents. The amount of carbs you’ll consume over the course of a year can be consumed in one day for the low cost of a few bucks. Paying 85 percent rather than 100 percent of the bill on your bottomless pancakes is a great thing. And that’s the upside of going down over the hill.

“In your nineties, you’ll enjoy the ride down the hill at breakneck speeds—until your car keys are taken away, of course. And then the upside is you’ll live like a king or queen with chauffeur service. Ladies, you’ll be driven to the grocery store to stock up on pads—the incontinent ones. Men, your driver will take you to the urologist, who’ll make you cough. And ladies, I’ll let you in on a little secret—it’s not a vocal chord checkup. This valet service is all done with the luxury of a personal driver. In addition, being unable to drive means people run all your errands for you—like getting one bag of groceries and fourteen bags of prescriptions. That’s the upside of going down over the hill.

“When you finally reach one hundred, you will be bestowed a special title—centenarian. You’ll enjoy the rewards of a triple-digit age, as exciting as when you turned double digits as a kid. You’ll also receive a special letter from the president himself, with his original photocopied signature. And while the White House website admits their letter office is swamped and it may take several months to receive your acknowledgment, the government is truly looking out for your best interest. They want you to stay in the race as long as possible, to receive the special recognition that you’ve crossed the one-hundred-year milestone. And when that certificate finally arrives, you can say you’ve lived long enough to see the day when something good came out of the White House. And that’s the upside of going down over the hill.”

As I left the stage and returned to my seat, the audience rose for a standing ovation. Who knew I had such humor bottled up in me for eighty-seven years? I won the comedy contest and the 500 bucks. And the biggest prize—allowing myself to be the center of attention. It stretched me out of my comfort zone and I enjoyed the limelight. I was proof you could teach an old dog new tricks.

You Should Write a Book With Camille Pagán Even Better Co

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