The House on Beartown Road: A Memoir of Learning and Forgetting

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9780091895846: The House on Beartown Road: A Memoir of Learning and Forgetting

'Daddy walks around, dropping pieces of language behind him, the baby following, picking them up. He asks for 'the liquid substance from the spigot'. She asks for 'wawa'. He wants a tissue to wipe his 'blowing device'. She says 'Wipe, Mummy' and points to her runny nose. The brain of my father and the brain of my daughter have crossed. On their ways to opposite sides of life, they have made an X-On his way out of life, Daddy has passed her the keys.' Soon after her daughter's first birthday, her husband walked out of their rambling old house in the country, leaving Elizabeth to come to terms with his absence and her new role as carer to a growing, demanding child, and a shrinking, demanding father. Elizabeth has no choice but to be the rock at the centre of her new, unusual family. Amidst the chaos of the house on Beartown Road, she discovers a new beauty in being in the middle of two universal stages of life and learning. She watches the growth of her baby Ava, hungrily learning about the world around her, and at the other extreme her father, trying to hold on to the fragments of his memory, fighting a losing battle against forgetting, but despite it all, capable of learning. And she begins to learn about herself, as someone who is strong, courageous and capable of looking after her family. Beautifully written, this book is a homage to the reality of family life.

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From the Inside Flap:

In this beautiful book, Elizabeth Cohen gives us a true and moving portrait of the love and courage of a family.

Elizabeth, a member of the ?sandwich generation??people caught in the middle, simultaneously caring for their children and for their aging parents?is the mother of Ava and the daughter of Daddy, and responsible for both. Hers is the story of a woman?s struggle to keep her family whole, to raise her child in a house of laughter and love, and to keep her father from hiding the house keys in his slippers.

In this story full of everyday triumphs, first steps, and elderly confusion, Ava, a baby, finds each new picture, each new word, each new song, something to learn greedily, joyfully. Daddy is a man in his twilight years for whom time moves slowly and lessons are not learned but quietly, frustratingly forgotten. Elizabeth, a suddenly single mother with a career and a mortgage and a hamper of laundry, finds her world spiraling out of control yet full of beauty. Faced with mounting disasters, she chooses to confront life head-on.

Written in wonderful prose and imbued with an unquenchable spirit, The House on Beartown Road takes us on a journey through the remarkable landscape that is family.

From the Back Cover:

“The adventure and peril of everyday living captured in language that’s light, beautiful, and razor-sharp.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The book is poignant and sad, funny and real, and highlights what is universally nutty about living with other people.” —Melissa Fay Greene, author of The Temple Bombing and Praying for Sheetrock

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