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Saturday, June 6, 2015
George Hodgman grew up in Paris, Missouri. Missouri is a
funny thing, he tells us, naming cities and towns after other cities and towns. An only child, son of a simple loving couple named Betty and George (Big George). This memoirist is back home, after many, many years away in college and later working in NYC as a writer. Betty is 91, Big George long gone, and she is ailing. Betty needs help and perhaps a nursing home. She is feisty and funny and does not, I repeat DOES NOT under any circumstances want to leave her home. And really, George does everything in his power to help make the situation smoother and easier. But he has run out of options and now that he is out of a job, George has the time to stay with Betty and help her figure out how she can comfortably live what is most likely the last decade of her life. With humor (think Modern Family) and wit, and a ton of love, George does the best he can. At the same time, as when most people return to their childhood home, the memories are both haunting and daunting. George had never "come out" to his parents. They never discussed his lifestyle - so painful secrets and memories remained twisted and hidden. Of course now that the faucet has been turned on, George's life, whether he likes it or not - is pouring out as well. Going through his own catharsis along with Betty's is touching and thought provoking on many levels. This is both an easy read (George is very funny!) and sad. I am a lover of memoirs and the end is a tad long but a lot of lessons to be learned about being kind and how quickly the tables turn when our parents age. And the fact that it is completely unavoidable. I really like George and Betty and think you will too.