Reading one of Deborah Moggach’s books is always a joy. She is so insightful of human life. She understands the way we tick so her stories are often reflections of our own lives. The Carer is no exception to this. I am sure many of us have had an experience of being a carer or employing one for loved ones.
The guilt that comes with placing your loved ones in the hands of others because you are too busy often makes for a guilty feeling. However finding a great carer that shoulders the responsibility of looking after an elderly parent so that you can relax and not worry about their welfare is like finding gold dust. A good carer becomes part of your family and you tend to lean on them as they understand the guilt you feel but never make you feel guilty.
This book tells a typical story of one elderly parent with two children, Phoebe and Robert, who are in their 60s, and are busy with their own lives. After a few false starts they find ‘Mandy’ who is a perfect fit for their father, James, who is recently widowed. Phoebe and Robert are so grateful, in the beginning, to have found the carer of their dreams. However Mandy soon becomes too close to their father and Phoebe and Robert start to feel unsettled.
This is a story of many of our lives, birth and death and all the ups and downs in between. Families are bound together by threads however whilst they can never be broken they can be severely tested. As our parents age these threads are tested. James says in the book, “getting old is not for cissies”. He is faced with a need to lean on his two children. But they are wrapped up with their own problematic lives.
At one point Phoebe remembers her father talking about the loneliness of old age:
‘It’s one of the things, like flatulence and phlegm, they don’t warn you about.’James, the father, from the book, The Carer
The Carer is filled with the author’s trademark humour and pathos. James says about his own long marriage, “Our marriage was one long conversation that was only interrupted by her death.” But do not be deceived as this book holds plenty of story twists. Behind the normality of people’s lives there often lies an extraordinary story.
This book, The Carer, highlights a serious problem that inevitably will be faced by many readers. A parent in their eighties who needs looking after by children in their sixties. James was right, getting old is not for cissies.
I can see this book being made into a film equally as enjoyable as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
To purchase this book from Amazon click HERE.