What kind of shadow does a family secret cast over the child?
Mark Aherne is a middle-aged, married man living in Chicago. He’s estranged from his parents in Boston, his father having bullied and belittled him throughout his childhood.
One Sunday, he receives a desperate phone call from Leslie, his sister, who has cared for their parents for many years. She needs help: his aging parents are sick and are drinking again. Mark soon finds himself back home with his sister dealing with their parents’ loss of independence.
As he cares for his parents, he remembers the past when he lived with his father’s emotional control over him and the family. Although Mark now recognizes the humor in many of his childhood memories, he still recalls those that filled him with guilt and a sense of separation.
As he slowly comes to understand his family’s dysfunction, he discovers secrets in his parents’ lives that led to their own unhappiness. While coping with his mother’s dementia and his father’s stubborn isolation, Mark fears his own aging as he learns to lay to rest the experiences of his childhood.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wrote several short stories about my childhood in the 1950s for my children but didn't publish them. When my elderly parents required help in their 80s, my sister and I shared caring for them. After they died, I wrote a memoir about their last years and reflected on their lives.
When I wrote the book, I turned the plot from a memoir into fiction. In order to introduce drama, I added family conflict: a domineering father, an estranged son, and an undercurrent of long-held parental secrets.