The Goddess of Undo, by Kat Drennan
Publisher: Escargot Books and Music; January 1, 2016
Kat Drennan sent me a book review request for this amazing novel, The Goddess of Undo, a few weeks ago. What struck me about the synopsis was that it was dealing with a mother having dementia and the aging process, but also that it pertained to a strained (at best) mother/daughter relationship prior to the mother’s onset of dementia. Initially, I was scared to read this novel due to my being estranged from my own mother, however, I know that my own mother has been fighting this fight with my grandmother for many years, so I decided to give it a try. I flew through this book in a few hours and afterwards realized that I could relate to a great deal, from previous visits to a nursing home to see my grandmother, but also, that I hadn’t fully realized the internal and external battles that my mother has fought since my grandmother became ill.
Drennan’s novel is the story of Evie (married to a fabulous man, Robert), living in Ojai, working, and starting a new business. Her world is suddenly turned upside down when she is notified that both her mother and stepfather are in a hospital in San Diego. What the author refers to as a “double implosion” is the realization of and sudden responsibility to attend to and find the best care for two aging parents. First, Evie must get her stepfather settled into full-time nursing care, while bringing her mother home to live with her and her husband. She finds a place her mother likes and moves her into there, but her condition digresses to the point that she must admit her mother into the same full time nursing facility as her stepfather. The difficult part of this novel is the enormous guilt that weighs upon Evie, despite the fact that her mother and stepfather never allowed her to live with them, saw them when convenient, and basically had no investment in Evie’s life. This story progresses as Evie gives all of herself that she can, while her career fails and her personal is strained. However, Evie seems to find her own comfort and inner peace taking care of her mother, despite the lack of care she received as a child.
This novel poses quite a few questions regarding guilt and obligation in caring for an aging parent. How much of yourself do you sacrifice for their care, especially when they never cared for you? What is an adult child’s obligation to care for a deteriorating parent? Most importantly, where on earth does the inner strength come from that is necessary to care for a parent?
So, this is not an upbeat, happy novel, but has a few humorous moments (especially if you’ve experienced a family member with Dementia), because sometimes, all you can do is laugh. However, I think that this novel provides that “person” that understands what they have endured with an aging parent. This novel is a well-written, to the point story that many can identify with, or will in the future. Drennan’s writing lifts the reader into the novel where you can see, hear, and smell everything being described. It’s as if she isn’t telling a story to you, but bringing you into the story as a character. I applaud Kat Drennan for writing such an amazing novel and highly recommend this novel. I cannot wait to read more from her in the future!
Want to know more about the author? Visit: https://katdrennan.com/
*I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.