Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review: House on Beartown Road

Author: Elizabeth Cohen
Format: 272 pages, 7 hrs, 35 min audio
Characters: Elizabeth, Daddy, Baby
Subject: Aging, Alzheimer's, single parenting
Setting: current, upstate New York
Genre: memoir
Source: Overdrive audio book download through public library
Challenge: Audio Books, Support Your Local Library

A heartbreaking story about a woman who moves from Arizona to an old farmhouse in upstate New York with her artist husband and one year old daughter. Subsequently, her 80 year old father comes from Arizona to live with them. Daddy has Alzheimer's. Hubbie has a total lack of marital commitment and leaves, and she is left to raise the baby and the father. She writes eloquently of the struggles her father has to remember and the struggles of her daughter to learn.

Daddy walks around now this way, dropping pieces of language behind him. The baby following picking them up. 

She writes about the surprising (to her) neighborliness of others on the street as they bring wood up to her porch, plow her driveway and shovel her walk. She tells us about her attempts to find help, her sister's problems dealing on the opposite coast with their mother. Through it all, her daughter is the shining star who brings everyone together.

"It isn't fatal Daddy, you could live a long time.  You'll just forget things. " That's the same thing as being dead.", he says.

The story is poignant in its outlook, but surprisingly not a tear jerker. It is inspiring.
Writing gives me a sense of control. It has its own special alchemy. I can make what is terrible turn beautiful.
Highly recommended to anyone who is dealing with, or may ever have to deal with issues of aging.  It's not preachy, it's not a how-to.  It's simply a well-written moving story very worth reading.


  1. Looks like a lovely read, and I love your review. I might pick this one up.

  2. Elizabeth was a columnist in the Binghamton, NY newspaper (our local paper) for several years. She is a very talented writer and her story is heart-wrenching but she never seems to feel sorry for herself. She's a person who looks for the good in every day.

  3. WOW...sounds like a powerful memoir Tina.I had not heard of this one.


Welcome, thanks for stopping by. Now that you've heard our two cents, perhaps you have a few pennies to throw into the discussion. Due to a bunch more anonymous spam getting through, I've had to disallow anonymous comments. I try to respond to all comments posing a question, but may not always get to you right away.