Before I Leave: Wisdom from the Stories of Six Women Over Eighty

The award-winning book by author Jenney Egertson

Silver medal winner of a 2019 Independent Publisher Book Award.


About Before I Leave

In July of 2000, Jenney Egertson met 80-year-old Maude Kelly. The following day, Jenney had an idea that felt more like a command: give Maude and a diverse group of women over the age of 80 a voice by writing a book to capture their stories and advice.

“Jenney Egertson writes on the most fundamental and moving of topics: How people manage to live and grow wise despite all the obstacles thrown in their way. The six women she found, interviewed, and came to understand in the course of writing Before I Leave teach lessons in living, dying, loving, and overcoming. It takes curiosity, a keen mind, and big-hearted compassion to engagingly present their stories — and Egertson is an author with all of those qualities, and more.”


— Jack El-Hai, author of The Nazi and the Psychiatrist and The Lobotomist.”  

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what people are saying

“Jenney Egertson’s Before I Leave is more than simply a transcription of interviews with older women—although it does bring their voices to life with uncanny vividness. It is also a moving meditation on the relationship between youth and age, on the manner in which memory enriches experience, and on the desire for permanence side by side with the recognition of change.”

— Mark Looker, Professor of English, author of Atlantic Passages

Jenney in the News

july 24 interview on northern community radio:

It’s a Woman’s World

What’s Next? With Diana Pierce