On the eve of my father’s funeral, I find myself writing my review of this memoir with a real sense of gratitude that I was lucky enough to have loving parents, and little dysfunctionality in my family. My father was raised in a rather Victorian household, (he was born in 1919), where children were seen but not heard, which made him always a quiet man, but no less loving for it, though he rarely expressed emotion.
Tomorrow I shall say goodbye to him in the knowledge that he lived a long and satisfied life, leaving no regrets at the end on any of our parts, unlike my poor friend Debby Gies (author D.G. Kaye), who suffered a traumatic childhood.
Thanks, Debby. Whilst I sorrow for your travails, you’ve gifted me with a great contrast to recognise at this sad time how fortunate I have been.
I found Kaye’s first book about her narcissistic mother a true eye-opener, an education about a condition I’d heard of, but never understood in all its desperately sad reality. I have since realised that I know someone with this condition, and it helps me to understand her often bizarre decisions and behaviour, rather than just being confused by them.
This sequel book, which also stands alone as an education of a different kind, is a raw and open story of how to deal with the guilt that comes from finally saying “I have had enough!” and sticking with that decision to the bitter end.
As a work of self-help, which is many respects it is, this book is a good guide to dealing with those relationships that just cannot be fixed, no matter how much we would like them to be, and regardless of the depth of love involved. No one should have to endure what Kaye and her family went through, but despite the heartache and hardship, this tale demonstrates how one can turn such pain around and become stronger as a result, and discover how to leave the inevitable regrets behind by recognising the realities, rather than the fantasy version of how things might have been.