Carol / Mainstream Fiction / Women's Fiction

Being Esther by Miriam Karmel

5197apBiXCL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Karen was so right about this book (see her 6/4 post)! But I need to talk about Esther, too; and Ceely, her daughter. As one who has been Ceely and is approaching Esther, the story really grabbed me. Ceely appears bossy, overbearing, and often angry or impatient with her mother; especially about moving into a senior facility (which Esther calls Bingoville!). Esther fiercely defends her independence to the point of denying any diminution mentally or physically. This scenario is playing over kitchen tables in millions of households today and with more to come as more Boomers join the Esther dynamic.

Ceely is afraid for her mother’s safety both at home and on the street; Esther is afraid of becoming invisible – one more warehoused body in ‘Bingoville;’ and this is driving them apart.  Esther’s evolution to a more sympathetic understanding of Ceely’s motivations, her granddaughter’s world, and her own past with her late husband moves the story along without becoming saccharine. She remains her feisty self even as she realizes her body, her mind, and her world will continue to change in ways she wouldn’t wish despite her.

Being Esther is not great literature, but it is a good story with sympathetic characters whose stories are told with humor and understanding.


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