Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Bettyville by George Hodgman
This is a touching memoir of an adult child's return to small town Missouri to care for his aging mother. Hodgman had an uncomfortable childhood growing up gay in the 1960s in rural America. He left for the East Coast for college and lived his own life in the decades that followed just checking in but never staying too involved. Hodgman comes home this time and ends up staying to care for his 90 year old mother as she struggles with dementia and failing health. This all sounds horribly depressing but Hodgman finds the joy in the small moments and the dark humor that is the saving grace of dysfunctional families everywhere. The narrative goes between the past and the present to help illuminate the relationships and how George and Betty got from there to here. Don't get me wrong, this is overall a sad book, especially with the examination of Hodgman's relationship with his parents and the impact of the AIDS crisis on his life, but it will also make you laugh out loud many times.