by Doreen Davy
I love the title of this book. I loved where the title came from and everything it means. I loved what it meant to the author and her mother.
Dr Katherine Moore (christened Kathleen) makes the decision to leave her life in New Zealand to nurse her dying mother through her final months. Returning to Bootle, Liverpool, she reconnects with her three sisters and the mother she loved but never really knew or understood. This is a novel based on real-life events unfolding without bitterness or regrets that cannot be explained with a nicely rounded ending. I hope we all have the opportunity to say our goodbyes in such a caring, loving way though, alas, I fear most of us are condemned to less easily understood emotions and resolutions.
The skills Dr Moore brought into her family to help her dying mother and two troubled sisters proved cathartic for her as well, while the questioning of an after-life through the raising of religious and professional doubt provided the opportunity for some carefully explained/unexplained phenomena – Dr Moore’s scepticism is brought up against the possibility of her mother reaching out to her from beyond the grave. This was interesting stuff.
As much as I enjoyed this book, I enjoyed it at a remove. With a professional background as a psychologist the author was able to lead us capably through this dramatic time. She wrote of the possibilities for terrible family fall-outs from hovering misunderstandings and stolen money with a calm detachment that translated itself into the relationship between me the reader and her characters. I never felt fully engaged. Her writing was skilful, the story touching in its themes, just not in its story-telling. There was sense of writing up case-notes as opposed to telling a story.
That said, this was an interesting book and I’m writing this review with my own family’s disfunctions sitting ghost-like around me, hoping that we can find the healing it needs before it is too late for any one of us. I felt the author was lucky to share this ending with her mother and sisters.
Thank you, Dr Davy.
Author: Doreen Davy
Publisher: The Book Guild Publishing
Available: Print: The Book Guild, a variety of online bookstores including Amazon, or independent booksellers