Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Missing Mom

I am a big fan of Joyce Carol Oates books.  Once in awhile, however, her books miss with me...just not Missing Mom is a hard book to put in a like/didn't like category.  There were a few parts that I found to be outstanding writing, yet most of the book was laborious, just-shoot-me reading.  The very beginning of the book put me in tears:

"Last time you see someone and you don't know it will be the last time.  And all that you know now, if only you'd known then.  But you didn't know, and now it's too late.  And you tell yourself How could I have known, I could not have known.
You tell yourself.

This is my story of missing my mother.  One day, in a way unique to you, it will be your story, too."

Anyone who has lost their mother would have to feel this.

This is a novel about Nikki Eaton, a thirty-one year old adolescent, who was still rebelling against all the her parents had stood for in their stereotypical middle class lives. 

The novel is about the year following Gwen Eaton's murder and how Nikki dealt with missing her mother.  Nikki had been working as a small town reported for a local newspaper.  She was involved with an older, married man and worked at staying removed from her mother and sister, Clare.  One day, Clare called Nikki reporting that her mother was not answering her phone and her car was not at her home.  Nikki wasn't especially concerned about her mother not being where she was supposed to be and went on with her day.

"Since speaking with Clare I'd been waiting for the phone to ring but it had not rung.  I'd been waiting for Mom to call but Mom had not called.  And I was made to realize that, if Clare hadn't called to upset me, if Mom had called in her place, I would have peered at the caller I.D. screen, seen EATON, JON and probably would not have picked up because I was working; because I didn't want to be interrupted in my work.
And it came to me Here is what you deserve: never to hear your mother's living voice again."

Nikki left work and arrived at her mother's home and found her mother murdered in her garage.  And life changed for Nikki in that moment. Gwen's murder started Nikki on a path of examining her own life.

"Something ruptured and began bleeding in my chest when I bent over my mother, when I saw my mother in that way.  It will happen to you, in a way special to you.  You will not anticipate it, you cannot prepare for it and you cannot escape it.  The bleeding will not cease for a long time."

Unfortunately, this was from page 58...it was not until page 397 that I was struck by her writing again.  The pages in-between are full of Nikki's story of living her mother's life.  She moved into her mother's home, began doing the things that her mother did, etc.  Near the end of the book, it did become interesting again, as Nikki began learning about her mother's life before she was a wife and mother.  Nikki began clearing out the attic at her mother's home and began to discover who her mother really was.  And she found things that her mother had saved.

"It was the fate of mothers, to remember.  What nobody else would know or care about.  That, when they are gone, goes with them."
 Would I recommend the book to others? Nope.  Will I read the book again? Nope.  I have already given you the best parts!

No comments: