Synopses & Reviews
Brenda Cullerton's parents were always eccentric. Her mother gardened in curlers, pop beads, and black satin underpants, while her father hid wads of cash in shoes in the garage. It was a family to escape from, and Brenda did. But advancing age and illness eventually made early behaviors look downright normal. When Brenda starts making trips home to care for her parents in their last years, she finds her brother installed in a tarpaper shack on the lawn, a barefoot caretaker from Ghana weeding with a machete, and her 73-year-old pot-smoking uncle hunting Canadian geese in the lake by their backyard. The neighborhood association is apoplectic with rage. After years of traveling the world, Brenda Cullerton comes home to the strangest land she's ever visited and finds that it is loving, not leaving, that saved her. The Nearly Departed is a haunting, heartbreaking, and incredibly funny book that is a love letter to parents, family, and home however strange they may be.
"A Triumph of compassion....This is a wise and fascinating book." Alice Elliott Dark, author of Think of England and In the Gloaming
"Hilarious and charming and loony and quite nearly perfect." Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors
"A wise, courageous, brutally honest and darkly hilarious memoir...about all the ways shame mutilates the spirit and how love can help us let it go." O Magazine
"Cullerton...asks poignant questions of herself that reveal her love for the strange people she calls her own and the heartbreak they have caused her. This is a cut above the average memoir, as it leads the reader to introspection, especially regarding the meaning of family." Deborah Bigelow, Library Journal