The Erratics

The Erratics

A Memoir

Book - 2020
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In this award-winning memoir, two sisters reckon with the convalescence and death of their outlandishly tyrannical mother and the care of their psychologically terrorized father, all relayed with dark humour and brutal honesty.

When Vicki and her sister learn their mother has been hospitalized for a broken hip, they return to their parents' home in Alberta to put things back in order. Though their parents disowned them years before, the sisters now reassert themselves in the dysfunctional household: their father, undernourished and suffering from Stockholm syndrome, is unable to see that he is in danger from his outlandish and vindictive wife. Rearranging their lives to be the daughters they were never allowed to be, the sisters focus their efforts on helping their father cope with the unending manipulations of their mother, and must encounter all the characters common in the circus of caretaking--oddball nurses and home helpers; over-opinionated hospital staff who have fallen for their mother's compulsive lies--along with the pressures that come with caring for elderly loved (and sometimes unloved) ones.

Set against the natural world of remotest Alberta ("in winter the cold will kill you, nothing personal"), this memoir--at once dark and hopeful--shatters precedents about grief, anger and family trauma with surprising tenderness and humour.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, ♭2020.
ISBN: 9780385695268
Characteristics: 201 pages ;,22 cm.


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Dec 11, 2020

What a gift it is to be capable of writing an interesting memoir featuring your volatile, perhaps-crazy-like-a-fox mother without ever showing us what exactly she did that left such an impression. The author is up-front, explaining that while her sister remembers everything about their upbringing, she has perhaps purposefully erased it all. The worst she can tell is that her mother is actively starving herself and the author's father and, in an earlier incident, that her mother lopped off her ponytail without warning. But the author is somehow successful in this magic. She shows you how sly her mother is, that she is clearly an intelligent woman. I didn't love this approach but I whipped through this book in an afternoon. An interesting hat-trick the author pulled, keeping me reading without giving away too much.

Sep 28, 2020

I felt it was a waste of time to read this memoir of the author's account of looking after her elderly parents. It provided no insight and it was not humorous. As well, it was very poorly written.

Aug 14, 2019

A memorable memoir, well written. How lucky I was with my two amazing parents.

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