Thursday, September 24, 2015

Montpelier Tomorrow by Marylee MacDonald


Colleen's husband died of a tragic accident while she was still pregnant with her 3rd child. She does her best to raise her children while still working as a teacher. Years later, her daughter Sandy is a grown woman with her old child when Colleen learns that Sandy's husband has ALS. There's no cure for ALS. Colleen flies down to help her daughter manage the house, the children, and take care of her ailing husband.

This book is obviously rife with emotion as it explores how a family, including children, react to a father slowly losing his muscle abilities and choosing how he'll finish his life. However none of the reactions are really what one would expect.

Tony: The father with ALS. Though he is the one that's ill, this book doesn't revolve around him, as much as he would like it to. As any person with an illness would feel self-pity. One would hope that eventually you'd move on to another emotion and try to live each day to its fullest. Unfortunately Tony never gets past self-pity. As the book continues, I found myself getting more annoyed with him and then annoyed with myself for getting annoyed with him. About 75% of the way through the book, it's finally explained that many ALS patients go through these types of emotions and then I found the remaining 25% of the book Tony was bearable. I'm not sure if it was a switch in me that accepted this behaviour as part of the disease or he actually became more bearable. Either way, I wish this had been told earlier in the book. I want to believe I would have been more accepting.

Colleen: The mother taking care of her daughter and son-in-law. Overall, the least annoying of all the characters. There's some self-righteousness in what she's doing but it's justified. She has some really odd reactions to her daughter spilling out her emotions.

Sandy: The daughter. Wow, what a piece of work. She fought her mom every step of the way, completely ungrateful for all help that was offered. As someone who has lost her mom, I can't even imagine doing this. I'd be so grateful just for a moment more. The story tries to pin down why Sandy acts the way she does but the reasoning isn't enough for me to cause the kind of hatred shown. To quote Colleen, "Sandy misunderstood me, intentionally, it seemed." That's right. She knowingly despised her mother and held her responsible for something small that happened when she was a kid.

Lillian and Aldo: Parents of Tony, who think throwing money at the problem will solve it. They have no interest in helping their son beyond monetary assistance. It was kind of despicable.

And then there's the girl who lives in Colleen's house. I can't remember her name and couldn't find it while flipping through the book. This side story was seemingly pointless to me. There were long swaths where she wasn't mentioned other than "I wonder how she's doing".

Overall, this book will certainly make you feel something. There are some great moments between Colleen and Tony. It's too bad there wasn't more of that. But I understand the point of the book it to not show a happy family, but a bit more nitty gritty of a story on how ALS can affect a family.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this tour!.

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First Line: "Time robs us of chances for reconciliation."


About the Author
A former carpenter and mother of five, Marylee MacDonald began writing when her last child left for college. Her fiction has won the Jeanne Leiby Chapbook Award, the Barry Hannah Prize, the Ron Rash Award, the Matt Clark Prize, and the ALR Fiction Award. Her novel, Montpelier Tomorrow, was a Finalist in the 2014 IPPY Awards and the Faulkner-Wisdom Prize. She is widely published in literary magazines. Find out more about Marylee at her website, see what she's pinning on Pinterest, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow her blog and add her to your circles on Google+.

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I always wonder how I would react or behave in a situation like this - would I be accepting of the hand dealt to me? Would I step up and help another family member with a good attitude if they were the one afflicted? What would I do, and who would I be? It's a lot to think about!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.