HARMONY HALL by Ric McGee

HARMONY HALL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A mother and daughter’s journey to come to terms with the aging process, aided by a colorful cast of characters at a remarkable retirement home.

Faith Green is forced to move her 81-year-old mother, Mimi, from Miami to a new home in Kentucky to spend her twilight years. Faith heaves a sigh of relief when she realizes how convenient the situation is: Mimi lives in a duplex owned by Faith’s boyfriend, which is next door to the sprightly 70-year-old Joyce. Mimi and Joyce become fast friends, gallivanting about and staying active together. But their happy arrangement is shattered all too quickly when the pair is in a car accident, leaving Joyce dead and Mimi severely injured. In the tragedy’s wake, Faith barely recognizes the frail, depressed woman before her and fears that her mother will never regain her zest for life. When Mimi is ready for discharge from the rehabilitation facility, Faith must confront the reality of her predicament. Mimi isn’t capable of residing alone and living with her daughter isn’t feasible. Faith visits an assisted-living facility in the community, but finds it’s out of their price range. As worries about the future mount and Mimi’s demeanor worsens, Faith discovers Harmony Hall, a modestly priced nonprofit retirement home for relatively self-sufficient elderly women. A tour of the facility and an introduction to a few of its feisty residents inspires Mimi to give the place a go. McGee’s debut is based on the retirement community where she serves as executive director. She has done a remarkable job of bringing the institution and its residents to life in this touching, well-written story. Anyone who has cared for an aging parent will identify with Faith and Mimi’s experiences and recognize how rare it is to find a place like Harmony Hall to call home.

A touching portrait that masterfully depicts an unpleasant reality of life.

Pub Date: March 27th, 2006
ISBN: 978-0-5953-7104-4
Program: Kirkus Indie
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