Both crushing and uplifting; an account nearly as emotional as the caregiver’s trials it vividly outlines.

WHILE THEY'RE STILL HERE

A MEMOIR

The unexpected responsibilities of being her parents’ full-time caregiver bring a dutiful daughter not only heavy burdens, but new revelations about her family as well.

A phone call from Williams’ half sister Linda signals it’s finally time to help her aging parents pack up and sell their house in Englewood, Florida, and move to her neighborhood in Olympia, Washington, to aid them in their twilight years. So begins this debut memoir, with the methodical Williams, a former dental hygienist used to managing her and her partner Katy’s household and dogs, leaving behind her familiar routines to become a caregiver. The challenge is considerable—though not invalids, her father is almost completely blind, plagued by seizures and breathing problems, and battles PTSD from his service during World War II, while her mother drinks heavily and suffers chronic knee and hip problems. A never-ending list of tasks follows as Williams struggles to improve their lives, from weaning her mom off the booze to finding therapy for her dad’s vision, while coping with a new order of parent/child interdependence. As sudden emergency room visits, prescription management, and an uncertain future for all parties become the norm, Williams’ vow to keep their moods elevated begins sinking her own, with frustration and irritation becoming a state of nigh-constant worry. This anxiety is so pervasive that many other caregivers should immediately recognize it, yet despite this, the engrossing book is largely upbeat. By the author’s own admission, the divide between her parents, right out of Tom Brokaw’s “The Greatest Generation,” and her and her boomer siblings was considerable, with alcoholism, infidelity, and political disagreements often aggravating that schism. Yet again ever present in her parents’ lives, amazing stories with captivating details surface, from the deeds both heroic and horrific her father witnessed in the Navy to her mother’s days as a singer, nightclub dancer, and model, along with the poverty both faced growing up in the Depression. The end result is an intimate oral history of a blue-collar, postwar American family revealed by the author in the same touching and heartbreaking manner it was disclosed to her.

Both crushing and uplifting; an account nearly as emotional as the caregiver’s trials it vividly outlines.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63152-240-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more