Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 4: Rain

For the past three days, we've had schmizzles, showers and sometimes wind-driven, plain old rain. We all seem to be holding up well, but I wouldn't want to speculate on tempers on Christmas Day -- with yet another storm scheduled to pass through. Ah well, that bridge when we come to it.

The weekend was spent reading, which is the best occupation in weather like this. Comfy chair, good reading light -- box of chocolates or a bowl of popcorn... here's what I managed to get through (while doing as little housework as possible, you may be sure.)

First, when your mother decides to off herself -- "Imperfect Endings, A Daughter's Tale of Life and Death" by Zoe Fitzgerald Carter Simon & Schuster 254 pages $25

Aged 75, Carter's mother decides she wants to die. Medically, she has: congestive heart failure, asthma, chronic pulmonary diseae, osteoporosis, arthritis, low blood pressure (which causes her to pass out unexpectedly) and Parkinson's. The Parkinson's has progressed to the point that she has had aphasia (unable to speak) and dyskinesia (uncontrolled writhing.) All of the diseases seem compatible with a 75 year old body except the Parkinson's and she has had it for the past 20 years.

But: she's determined to die and, being a control freak, she's going to do it her way. Assisted suicide. Her three daughters are horrified. It was an interesting read and the way it all came down was satisfying to the participants.

Look out! Loose cannon! "Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness, Only More So, A Memoir" by Mark Vonnegut, MD Delacorte Press 203 pages $24

Both sides of his family tree sprouted people who were mentally unstable. His father was the late Kurt Vonnegut, a man not especially noted for his serenity. It's no wonder Mark was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. He was hospitalized several times, but triumphed to enter Harvard Medicalschool at the ripe old age of 28. He proved to be a good doctor with a sure grasp of his speciality, pediatrics.

It was encouraging to read the story of a man who overcame a severe handicap to become a productive member of society. His is a sly wit and he can make you laugh before you realize you're doing it.

"Poor Little Bitch Girl" by JackieCollins None of the main characters are sympathetic (spoiled movie star daughter; cokehead DJ and pimp ...) the plot is extraordinarily weak and the writing style would be most suitable for a book for teens.

Why? you ask? See headline.

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