Saturday, May 9, 2015
Book Review Bettyville by George Hodgman
Penguin very kindly offered me some books recently that really hit an emotional nerve, and each in its own way.
In some ways, I have nothing in common with a glamorous, and gay, man who writes for big media companies (including Vanity Fair) who then goes home to Paris, Missouri to help his 90 year old mother. In other ways, I have everything in common with him.
In this memoir, the author returns home to a somewhat difficult mother now facing a failing memory, health problems and her loss of the social life she treasured. Mother and son are both stubborn, but also burdened by the past.
This book addresses a lot. And aging parent, being out of place growing up and gay in a small society, drug addiction, aids, coming of age and the pain of being different. We don't always fit in with regards to our family expectations or the parts of the world in which we find ourselves. But mostly we learn to cope.
And this book is also a mature one, that hints at finding a balance and reaching the maturity to deal with an aging parent. And the past. Denial was a huge part of his family norms, so now the author deals with his own issues of closeness and trust, even as he mourns the loss of community in a place he never felt he belonged.
Touching and lovely.