Things Unsaid: A Novel by Diana Paul
WordsAPlenty received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Things Unsaid: A Novel is an eye opening book that makes one look not only at one’s self but at one’s family with an intensity that is staggering. Three children – Jules, Joanne and Andrew are faced with caring for their aged parents who are now in an expensive retirement home and accumulating debts at the speed of light. Neither of their parents appear to be as sharp as they once were mentally but their tongues are sharper than ever.
Jules, the oldest feels a sense of duty and responsibility to help her parents and siblings. Caught between caring for her aged parents or her daughter and husband, Jules has to make hard choices – they are not always the right ones but in the end, she does the best she can.
“Jules is the one who has to support us.”
“His mother didn’t understand any of them. Only her own needs. It had always been like that.”
Things Unsaid is a well written book that takes one family and follows them through their struggle to come to terms with their aging parents and where their duties lie. Diana Paul uses her story to highlight a growing situation with parenting – parents give up everything as the children grow but at what point does the parent become the responsibility of the children? And who takes the responsibility? The oldest, middle, youngest …? How much responsibility and to what extent do you jeopardize your own family and life?
Parents grow older and lose their strength of body and mind far too often forcing their children to make difficult choices – choices their children must live with in the end. Perhaps with loving parents the choices would be much easier to make, but with Aida and Bob … well, the choices were much harder to reconcile.
“My troubles began when I got married. She paused and looked at Andrew. “I didn’t mean for your father and me to be such party poopers. We can talk about this later. No need to ruin our visit. And Abigail, you needn’t get involved with our petty personal problems. That’s just for family to deal with you know.” She smiled at her daughter-in-law – a fake smile, Andrew thought.
Paul develops each character and situation to its fullest. Her plot development is perfectly executed and engages each reader in their own way based on their experiences. For me, I kept seeing my mother and aunt dealing with the difficulties of their aged and ill mother with Alzheimer’s. Knowing where their responsibilities lay with their parent and their own families. Paul skillfully draws the reader in and provides them with thought provoking questions … what will I do when … can I do that when the time comes … why do I need to let anyone go?
Paul is a talented storyteller that has a keen insight into family and emotions.
WordsAPlenty gives this book a 5 star rating.
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