This is the second last book left from the Debbie Macomber series that is stocked at Jurong Library. I have just one more book of hers to read and then I’ll have to browse at a new shelf.
There was a recent debate in ST Forum on building retirement villages. Many are for it to be built, with a few suggestions for them to be built at Pulau Ubin, Sentosa or to allocate the first few floors of HDB blocks as retirement homes. There are many who are against it as well, still clinging to the notion that kids should take care of their aged parents. This book examines the same dilemma.
50 year old Susannah is a grade 5 school teacher with two almost adult children. She has dreams about her first boyfriend when she receives news that her mother might be suffering from dementia. She rushes back to her home town at Colville, hoping to persuade her eighty year old mother to move to an assisted living home, as well as to try to search for her first love, Jake, whom she believes left her because of something her father had done. While packing her mother’s house, she comes across evidence to suggest that her father had paid off Jakes’ father to leave town.
At the same time, her nineteen year old daughter Chrissie decides to move to Colville to help her, only to fall in love with the bad boy of town. Despite her best intention, Susannah finds herself in the same situation as what her own father had faced thirty years ago, paying for the bad boy to leave her daughter.
In the event, she also discovers stories about her dead brother, the truth about Jake, and that her father, whom she was angry with all her life, had really done the best thing for her. She also discovers what she viewed as a boring marriage, is actually one that has assured her of love and safety.
Susannah has a reunion of sort with her high school girlfriends. They have fun reminising old times and they wonder what if they have all taken a different path. Would their lives be more exciting than the lives they are leading now? Like the book, I’ve also asked the what if’s questions. What if I’ve married a different man? What if I’ve chosen a different career path?
Many middle age women in Singapore are stretched financially and physically between aged parents and kids. Soon, I may also have to consider the need to live in retirement homes. So this book is a wake up call. Assisted living (as they call it in the book)gives the aged the independence they seek, yet provides help in the event of an emergency. Of course, some may not like the idea of living with all old people, but isn’t it better than being alone?
That’s why Debbie Macomber is popular among middle age female readers. She delves into our heart and speaks our minds. (See, I’ve finally conceded that fact that I’m middle age!)