Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dear Great Book Guru, I have heard that the Sea Cliff Library will be hosting an author visit and book signing this Saturday, April 16 from 1 to 3pm. I know the author Marilyn Martone, but I don't know anything about the book. Have you read it and, if so, would you recommend it? Cautious Reader

Dear Cautious, Marilyn's book OVER THE WATERFALL tells an amazing story that was so riveting I read it in one sitting. The book opens with a phone call: her 21 year- old daughter Michelle, a Phi Beta Kappa student at the University of Chicago has been hit by a car. She is near death. The family rushes to Chicago but it is only when they see Michelle does the full horror of her situation become apparent. She is severely brain damaged and their journey- Marilyn's, Michelle's, and their entire family's- begins. Marilyn who is a medical ethicist and theology professor writes with exquisite, compelling detail about the myriad of decisions that had to be made, the loving care that so many people showed to Michelle and the family, and the brutal callousness of a financially strapped medical system. Throughout, the author shows her compassion for those families who while suffering similar tragedies, do not have the support- financial, educational, and emotional - hers does. The book chronicles the unbelievable hurdles that had to be overcome to bring her daughter home. I kept thinking of the myth of Persephone and her mother Demeter. When Persephone is taken by Hades to the Land of the Dead, it is only through her mother's wit and suffering that she is allowed to return to the Land of the Living for part of each year. In this book, her mother and family and community and Michelle herself wage an awe-inspiring battle that culminates in her return .

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