Friday, July 15, 2011

The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of Three Weeks, by Robin Romm

The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of Three WeeksThe Mercy Papers: A Memoir of Three Weeks by Robin Romm

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Honest and raw. This book is an honest and uncompromising recount of the three weeks leading up to the death of Robin Romm's mother (from cancer). Romm details the daily occurrences: the pain medications, making sure her mother's oxygen mask was on correctly, the food that people kept bringing to their house, how the people in the house behaved, the people from the hospice trying to up her mother's pain medications, etc. And she also describes her own feelings and thoughts: the feelings of abandonment, the anger at the idea of death, the pleading and bartering with God, the feeling of loss, the unwillingness to let go. The details are symbolic and the prose poetic and it is all drenched in sorrow and anger. She resents when she is asked to tell her mother it is ok to let go when she know she is not ready and will never be. She drags through the day trying to get through, willing the day to last and pass and leave her mother alive. The book is incredibly moving and challenges us to relive those last three weeks with the author.

As someone that has lost a parent, this book is validating and cathartic. You read the words and identify with the feelings of anger and loss, the idea of death and the empty vacuum it leaves. To say that this book moved me would be an understatement. Rather, I became involved in the prose and events of the book. I felt deep understating and empathy for the author and what her family went through.

The book very well written and deeply affecting. The author involves the reader as the emotions surge through and the rawness and ugliness of death come to life, exposed and quiet but never swift.

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