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Book Review: The Somebody Who ~by Katie Gates

Cherish Rose 2010

Cherish Rose 2010

I can highly recommend this book to anyone who is a member of a family, has a family, have parents who are aging, have lost their parents, or are just starting a new family.

This is a book about family and what happens to all families when their primary communicator makes a major change.   It affects every member.

I started to read this story on Katie Gates Blog, as she was putting up one segment once a week.  I loved her choice of words and especially the dialog sections.   The words were how people truly speak to each other, sometimes being so respectful and careful that they create secrets with their feelings and what is unspoken.

I could not read this book so slowly; I was hooked in and so went ahead and purchased a copy.

Evelyn  has lost her husband  of 47 years to dementia,  she is the partner left behind.  She is the mother to her four children, the volunteer, the nurturer and the caregiver who kept the family; a family which has now lost its greatest communicator – Oh the body is still there eating, exercising and getting dressed, but the mind has left this world behind – to cope.

I needed to read this story after caring for my Mother for her 3 year dying journey.  My Mother was very sharp mentally and that was a blessing because we could talk about what was happening to her body and make decisions together right up to the very end.    This story helped me to demythologize my own family of origin and how I expected my siblings and relatives to behave.

This is such a respectful loving story.  Katie Gates has quite a way with words – even the words of someone with dementia.

Evelyn is very lucky, because she has full time helpers during the day seven days a week.  She is able to go to concerts, lunch, shopping and fundraisers; still participate in the world.  I was quite jealous of her help actually!  Evelyn was on the night shift and it meant that for her she could not sleep.   She begins the sorting process as something to do as she is awake for most of the night.   The reader begins to understand the strength of this family and how their lives and stories are pieced together with the onset of this dis-ease;  how each member  approached their new relationships and the new dynamics with the changes.

This novel brought me home to a deeper understanding of my emotions and I could comprehend the strengths I had promoted and hopefully instilled in my own children.   This is a gentle story or a deeper thought- provoking exploration of how one would want their own family to be in the midst of change.

Katie Gates and I have been in touch with several emails and comments as I prepare to share this review, and she has offered a copy of the book as a “give a way”.  If you make a comment on this post, I will enter your name into a random drawing and you might WIN a copy for yourself.

Katie Gates is willing to visit with book groups.

I hope my readers will at the least make their way over to read the story piece by piece on the blog, or purchase the book, which is available from Amazon.com through this blog site or KatieGateswrites.

I discovered family and the subject of communication in this story, and I believe there are  many other dimensions to this plot to capture the attention.  The book was a very good read by a very good story teller.  I am sure you would enjoy it.

Do you know of other novels about parental aging and family dynamics that you would like to share?

How would your family cope with a dementia situation?  One of my friends and her 3 siblings hired a mediator and spent a whole weekend working out  their resolutions with their parent’s illness and things.   Would you ever do that or consider it?  How do you cope with being awake all night long?

Looking forward to your delightful comments and entry into the drawing.

Related Reading you might also enjoy:
Silver & Grace The Somebody Who
Book Review  Merle’s Door
Book Review:  Hannah Coulter
Factoid Fridays:  Architects

16 Responses to “Book Review: The Somebody Who ~by Katie Gates”

  1. Deborah Barker Says:

    Hi Patricia. I have come over from Katie’s blog. ( I am in the UK). I bought her book a while ago and reviewed it on Amazon. I loved it. I loved the humour, the pathos and the true-to-life scenarios of caring for a person with dimentia.

    I have just ordered a second copy as mine is being passed round my family and I would like to read it again.

    My mother, who is 85 and a widow, has been caring for her partner, John, who is 73 and has dimentia, for several years. They have always kept their own houses but John has spent more and more time at my mother’s since his illness. This has been in part because he simply forgets he has to go home. (Yes, there is humour there!)

    My mother gradually became his only carer but he has recently deteriorated to the point where she cannot provide the level of care that he now needs. The job is both physically and mentally draining of course.

    John’s son has just this week. arranged care for John in his own home and my mother is now reduced to visiting him each day.

    This is very sad as she misses him so much. I think this disease is like experiencing a double bereavment. First you lose the person you once knew, then you lose the person they have become.

    I thought Katie’s book dealt sensitively with all of the issues she touched upon. She is a wonderful story teller indeed.

    Being new to your blog, I am now off to explore!

  2. patricia Says:

    Welcome, welcome and I read your review on amazon and it was a great 5 star review.
    I am hoping that my book group will choose this book, if not I will pick it for my next years read – it is marvelous.

    Thank you for coming by and exploring. I need to get writing on some other blogs and get some more folks over to check out this review :)

  3. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    Frankly, I’m not ready to think about it. But I know this is something many of us will have to deal with at some point.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..In Which I Fall In Love With California =-.

  4. Patricia Says:

    this is one beautiful love story told by an excellent story teller – it is a lovely book for any one to read…

  5. Davina Haisell Says:

    Hi Patricia.
    It makes a difference for a topic such as this to be broached by a good storyteller; invites the reader to go deeper. I appreciated your perspective here… “This novel brought me home to a deeper understanding of my emotions and I could comprehend the strengths I had promoted and hopefully instilled in my own children.” You’re always thinking of other people.

    Parental aging is not a part of my life. My mother and both grandparents have long ago passed and my father remains distant and living across the country. I suppose my issue will be who will take care of me when/if the time comes. But having said that, I’m not ready to even think about that yet.
    .-= Davina Haisell´s last blog ..I Survived the 3-Day Novel Contest =-.

  6. Arts web show Says:

    It great to read a story and be able to relate to it.
    Sometimes i miss reading a good book. lol

  7. Patricia Says:

    As I said to Vered it is still a great story by a great storyteller and Ms. Gates is a great writer of dialogue….it is not contrived, it is like people really speak to each other.

    I thank you for looking this over. I think you may be very lucky actually on the parental aging part. I think having someone to care for you when you are near the end is important and worth starting early to find an advocate/friend

  8. Patricia Says:

    Arts web Show
    I think that this was a great story and also great dialogue writing. I think this book would make a great movie.

    I love reading especially when the book is good. It is a bit like playing the piano…the teacher also takes lessons to keep learning and improving technique and style.

  9. Chris Edgar Says:

    Thanks for this — this has been on my mind recently, as my father and I have birthdays within a few days of each other. I live in California, and most of my family lives in New York, and I’m starting to understand why it might be useful for us to be closer together, although ten years ago I may have wanted exactly the opposite! :)

  10. Patricia Says:

    This is quite a good story about communication for me – Yes living closer was the solution for me – I moved my mother into my house and it still nearly wore me completely out…
    I do not know how much support you have or your circumstances but I would highly recommend that now is the time to truly figure out communications if there are problems and needs before it gets much larger and issue
    and of course, I recommend this great book/read :)

  11. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. thanks for this wonderful review .. I will get the book .. for now I need to start to read what I’ve got! I do know how difficult dementia is – especially for the partner .. it does sound as though it is real enlightening book ..

    I’m just grateful I can enjoy my mother’s company without the worry of the nursing element – though it hasn’t been straight forward in more ways than one .. my limits have been stretched as it is – and I honestly say I don’t understand how others can cope – I know we do ..

    Katie’s book does sound a necessary read to understand these things .. and that is what we all need to appreciate more – about these difficult challenges that we may or may not face – but almost certainly one or more of them.

    Thanks for this .. great to know about – Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Misalliance to veer to the left- or to veer to the right! =-.

  12. patricia Says:

    I thought you might enjoy this read – I too have quite a few books in my stack – This book is also very fun and I found it relaxed me too – a release

    Maybe that is just what good storytelling is all about?

  13. Katie Gates Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    Just wanted to pop over to tell you how much I appreciate this wonderful review as well as the comments that have come in. I realize I am biased, but I can honestly say that The Somebody Who is the best novel I’ve ever read 40 times! I do hope a few of your blog friends will take the leap over to Amazon.

    Again, many thanks for your kind support and kind words.

    – Katie

  14. Jannie Funster Says:

    Dearest Patricia, I cannot imagine what it must have ben like those 3 years at the end of your mother’s life. But I guess I shall go through it myself one day, perhaps. We’ll see what doors open.

    This whole post and review reminds me how important it is to love our family as much as we can in these moments. And our friends too. We’ll be in Canada for a whole month next summer! Spend some good relative time.

    I look forward to reading this book!


  15. patricia Says:

    You are welcome, the book is a good read and you are a great story teller. I am only to happy to spread the word about a book that I enjoy.

    I think folks should not be concerned about the dementia so much it is just a vehicle to talk about making family life meaningful and to understand family dynamics and communication. The subject matter is not limiting

  16. patricia Says:

    The last 3 years of my mum’s life were very amazing as have been the three years since. I am still exhausted and tired.

    Family communications are still a vital piece of making meaning full relationships….Forget about who gets the silverware or the vase….this story is about loving even the distinctive qualities and attributes within a family…

    Just a great read.