Synopsis: We only learned about our father's girlfriend after he became deathly ill and lay in a coma 120 miles from our home.
Overhearing the nurse tell Linda--since I was nine I had called my mom by her first name--about the girlfriend who came in almost every day to visit him when we weren't there confirmed that the last moment of normal had passed us by without our realizing it. Up to then our family had unhappily coexisted with Dad flying jumbo jets to Asia while we lived in Montana. We finally came together to see Dad through his illness, but he was once again absent from a major family event--unable to join us from his comatose state. This is the moment when our normal existence tilted.
Dad recovered, but the marriage ailed, as did Linda, with cancer. Our family began to move down an entirely different path with silver linings we wouldn't see for many years.
In this candid and compassionate memoir which recently won a Gold Award in The Wishing Shelf Book Award, Nicole Harkin describes with an Impressionist's fine eye the evolution of a family that is quirky, independent, uniquely supportive, peculiarly loving and, most of all, marvelously human.
Review: This is a very touching, compelling portrait of a unique family. It is a quick read that you'll want to finish in one sitting. The author doesn't sugarcoat her life, nor does she try to make us feel sorry for her. She presents the facts in a realist manner, allowing the reader to find their own reaction to each part of the story. Throughout the book, we go back and forth between Nicole's childhood and her adult life, learning that discovering her father's girlfriend, as described in the blurb, is hardly the beginning of the unusual in her life. I laughed, I cried, and I cringed at some of the situations in this family.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from Rachel's Random Resources.
Rating: Four stars
About the author
Nicole Harkin currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two small children. She works as a writer and family photographer. As a Fulbright Scholar during law school, Nicole lived in Berlin, Germany where she studied German environmentalism. Her work can be found in Thought Collection and you are here: The Journal of Creative Geography. She is currently working on a mystery set in Berlin. Her photography can be seen at www.nicoleharkin.com.
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