Thursday, June 18, 2009


Two Women

"Welcome to the Departure Lounge" by Meg Federico Random House 191 pages $25

This is an account of a daughter's attempts tp care for her mother, 81. Complicating matters is the fact that the mother is in her dotage, likes her cocktails, but not her second husband, 82, who inconveniently, develops Alzheimer's in his.

We meet the mother when she falls, strikes her head on a curb and is taken, comatose, by ambulance to a hospital. There she suddenly sits bolt upright on the examining table and yells, "I demand an autopsy!" and sinks back into torpor.

The daughter who lives in Halifax with her husband and kids, is the closest sibling to them geographically. They live in New Jersey in a home she nicknamed the Departure Lounge.

The couple figures out that calling the liquor store and having booze delivered gets around the ban on alcohol in the house. Ditto for when the television won't work (because he can't figure out the remote) - you just call and the nice people bring you a new one! And cases of Scotch and televisions begin piling up.

The parents are (amazingly) considered competent by the courts, so they can't be put in nursing homes. Happily, both are quite well off financially (at one point, home care was running $400,000/year.) It's a fun read and really explores a child's helplessness in the face of a determined (and demented) parent.

Money 'Ho
"Michelle, a Biography" by Lisa Mundy (see above) Simon & Schuster 217 pages $25

There is nothing new to learn here, unless you are deeply interested in black politics in Chicago; the black movement there in the '60s or in learning that even as a child, Michelle was headstrong and aggressively competitive.

What irritated me especially is that the book ends mid-Presidential campaign! Given the cover head shot and the speed with which Obama seems to be moving, I assumed that it would cover them in the White House and/or certainlyhave more up-to-date information. I would have liked to learn the name of her designer at K-Mart among other things.

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