Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Remember Me

Remember Me, Mary Ann Barrucco, Morton Books, 2014

This is a non-fiction story about one woman's attempts to cope with life throwing everything at her.

Mary Ann is looking forward to life with Eddie, her husband. Both have good jobs with the City of New York. Eddie's drinking turns into full-blown alcoholism, and he takes it out on Mary Ann. To deal with the abuse, Mary Ann becomes a compulsive gambler. Eddie receives a really good incentive to stop drinking when his health collapses because he needs a heart transplant.

Eddie gets his new heart, and things start to improve between him and Mary Ann. They go on a cruise, and renew their wedding vows. Life is good. That is, until the day that Eddie is diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. The end comes quickly. Instead of being able to mourn her husband privately, Mary Ann is thrown into a battle among Eddie's family over, you guessed it, money.

Mom, the family matriarch, is 90 years old, and still has her faculties, but she can no longer live alone. Eddie's brother and his wife convince Mom to live with them in Florida. The problem is that the wife is a greedy, manipulative little you-know-what who makes no secret of her desire to get her hands on Mom's large bank account. A bigger problem is that Eddie's brother is totally unwilling, or unable, to stand up for himself or his family in New York to his wife.

Mary Ann makes her hatred for Greedy Wife very clear when the draining of the bank account starts (which the family in New York is able to stop). Greedy Wife cuts off all contact between Mom and New York, except to say things like 'Mom wants Mary Ann removed from the (already existing and rock-solid) will' or 'Mom wants no further contact with New York because they are being mean and inconsiderate' (which are total nonsense). Most of the contact between New York and Florida is done through attorneys. Through all this, a group of widows help Mary Ann grieve Eddie's death and keep her emotional bearings.

On the positive side, this is a very raw and plain-spoken story about love and death and family squabbles. It is short, and very much worth reading. On the negative side, this book really needs a trip, or another trip, to a professional proofreader.