The author, a retired historian, decides to go to art school, and describes her experience of getting both a BFA and an MFA. She astutely shows how difficult it can be to be so much older than the other students in Old In Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over. While she is adjusting to her life as a student, including the ruthless (and apparently unstructured, and quite biased) critique sessions, she also has to contend with her aging parents, who live on the other side of the country and need her, again and again, as they become sicker (and eventually die). She also explores the big question of what art is. Who decides? and who makes the rules of which artists will encounter success.
I found it ironic how, in the midst of her very real struggles coping as a student, she often feels the need to remind us of how established she is, prizes she’s won, historian associations she has chaired. Surely part of being a student is having to leave the string of achievements from our prior life, right?