If you are not yet reading BETTYVILLE, and if you are not yet madly in love with its author George Hodgman, you are in for such a treat. I’m going to be so sad when this book is over, and how often, really, do any of us say that about a book?
George Hodgman leaves his New York publishing life and heads to Missouri for his mother’s 91st birthday, and never makes it back. BETTYVILLE is about growing up and getting older, for the both the mother and the son, and the reversal that happens when it’s time to take care of our elderly parents. It’s about loss and love and mothers and sons and how small town life — really small, as in a thousand people small — can end up being exactly the kind of community you’ve always craved even after you moved far away to New York City to escape and live your big life. I knew when I read sentences like this, in the first few pages, I would be hooked:
“I am an unlikely guardian. A month ago I thought the Medicare doughnut hole was a breakfast special for seniors. I am a care inflictor.”
“I am probably going to have to stay here in Missouri and become a horse whisperer…. Turns out I’m a person who needs people. I hate that.”
You can listen to George Hodgman’s NPR interview with Terry Gross here, and you should because he is so incredibly charming you’ll want to read his book AND give him a giant hug and take him home with you. Or visit him in Paris, Missouri.