Synopses & Reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris,
Missouri, he finds himself — an unlikely caretaker and near-lethal cook — in
a head-on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and
will. Will George lure her into assisted living? When hell freezes over.
He can’t bring himself to force her from the home both treasure — the
place where his father’s voice lingers, the scene of shared jokes,
skirmishes, and, behind the dusty antiques, a rarely acknowledged
conflict: Betty, who speaks her mind but cannot quite reveal her heart,
has never really accepted the fact that her son is gay.
these two unforgettable characters try to bring their different worlds
together, Hodgman reveals the challenges of Betty’s life and his own
struggle for self-respect, moving readers from their small
town — crumbling but still colorful — to the star-studded corridors of Vanity Fair. Evocative of The End of Your Life Book Club and The Tender Bar, Hodgman’s New York Times bestselling debut is both an indelible portrait of a family and an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son’s return.
“This is a superior memoir, written in a witty and episodic style, yet
at times it’s heartbreaking . . . filled with a lifetime’s worth of
reflection and story after fascinating story.” Library Journal (starred review)
“A humorous, bittersweet account of Hodgman’s caring for his aging, irascible mother.” Vanity Fair
“A gorgeously constructed memoir . . . Hodgman creates an unforgettable
portrait of his mother, Betty — a strong-willed nonagenarian struggling
against the slow-motion breakdown of her mind and body. He evokes her
with wit and tenderness.” The New York Times Book Review
“A remarkable, laugh-out-loud book . . .
Rarely has the subject of elder care produced such droll human comedy,
or a heroine quite on the mettlesome order of Betty Baker Hodgman. For
as much as the book works on several levels (as a meditation on
belonging, as a story of growing up gay and the psychic cost of silence,
as metaphor for recovery), it is the strong-willed Betty who shines
through.” The New York Times
“The idea of a cultured gay man leaving New York City to care for his
aging mother in Paris, Missouri, is already funny, and George Hodgman
reaps that humor with great charm. But then he plunges deep, examining
the warm yet fraught relationship between mother and son with profound
insight and understanding.” Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home
About the Author
George Hodgman is a veteran magazine and book editor who has worked at
Simon & Schuster, Vanity Fair, and Talk magazine. His writing has
appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Interview, W, and Harper’s Bazaar,
among other publications. He lives in New York City and Paris, Missouri.