Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Review - Untethered: A Caregiver's Tale

Untethered: A Caregiver's Tale  by Phyllis Peters will be out November 15th on Amazon, and other outlets shortly afterward. I was sent an advance review copy, and was quite taken with the story. Here is how we, and the central character are introduced to the main drama of the story:

“Mr. Conklin?”

“Yes?” I said. The aroma of brewing French roast filled our kitchen. I couldn’t concentrate.

“I’m Officer Vargas,” she clarified.

“Yes?” I repeated. I had to reflect, quickly. The IRS doesn’t call their people “officers,” do they?

“Mr. Conklin, we picked up your father in an incident this afternoon and he’s named you as the person able to provide transportation home. Are you able to come down and get him?”

I didn’t answer her at first. Taking coffee mugs out of the cabinet for me and Mel seemed a more real task. I set them on the counter, realizing slowly that I was not talking to the IRS. Mel couldn’t hear Officer Vargas’s side of the conversation, so she blinked and cocked her head. Behind her, the clock on the stove said it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon—a Tuesday afternoon, an early autumn one. We had both taken the day off from our hectic jobs at the hospital to relax and see the beauty. I was just beginning to see, and as that song from my youth says, I was now on my way. To the police. To spring my 85-year-old dad."

The rest of the story revolves around the challenges that Conklin and his wife face, as well as extended family, dealing with the father who has Alzheimer's.

The author said she wrote the book because she knew so many people who are caregiving, or will be caregiving, for people affected by dementia and/or Alzheimer's.  She says, "Alzheimer’s destroys minds, but it also throws into pain and upheaval lives, families, memories—and joy. Caregivers can be under so much pressure that they do not know where to turn or how to get through the next hour of their own or their loved ones' lives. Untethered is my contribution to the emotional side of caregiving, to offering hope and perhaps a chuckle to anyone who needs a break or is seeking the simple pleasure of relief through shared experience.

The book does provide enough humor to help ease the tension for anyone dealing with a difficult situation. I remember that humor helped my long-time friend through the years of caregiving for her mother as her mother's mind slipped away. It is said that laughter is the other side of tears, so it is always good to laugh when you can.

I found the writing engaging, charming and full of hope and joy, and I really loved the primitive ink drawings at the beginning of each chapter. They had a special charm all of their own. I tried to capture an image from the book, but they were protected. I guess you have to read the book to see them for yourself. (smile)

Phyllis will be my guest this next Wednesday. I do hope you can come back to meet her. She has written a short essay about joy that is quite nice, and there will be a video where you can get to know more about this book and the charity she is supporting with the proceeds from sales. 

1 comment:

Mario said...

I've yet to read this book, but this review is very helpful. If you have a moment, I have a quick question and can't find your contact info. Please email me at mtrucillo(at)recallcenter(dot)com. Thanks!