Don’t Tell Anyone
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 9, 2012)
Right from the beginning I connected with the central character in this story, Liza, who is awakened in the early hours of morning after partying half the night and she wonders if her husband, Adam, “…is still dancing with Cara Miller’s breasts.”
When she manages to get to the phone, it is to discover that her mother-in-law, Estelle, is in the hospital with pneumonia. Estelle and Liza have had anything but a close relationship, with Estelle considering her daughter-in-law a “godless hippie raised by wolves”, yet Estelle asks Liza to do something she would not ask even her own sons. Estelle has cancer and has hidden that fact since she first discovered the tumors in her breasts. She was raised in the era when people talked in hushed whispers about the dreaded C disease, and after watching her grandmother and mother die painful deaths from cancer, Estelle wanted to keep her cancer secret. Now she wants Liza to help her die when living is no longer an option.
This is a wonderful, multi-layered story, and the reader gets to see how it all plays out from several points of view; Liza’s, Estelle’s, Adam’s, and his younger brother Charlie. Relationships are strained as they all deal with the challenges of a terminal illness, and this all comes across as true and believable. There are moment of extreme anger, sadness, and yet enough humor to lighten that load. I could relate to Liza’s no nonsense irreverent approach to the situation, and even understood Estelle’s desire to go out on her own terms. I also loved her humor, and you will get a full serving of that when she visits here on Wednesday to have a chat with Laurie about the book. In the meantime, here is just a taste of her acerbic wit.
“You father,” Estelle said, “may he rest in peace, he couldn’t drop dead on the golf course like everybody else? He couldn’t go quietly in his sleep? No, he had to have a massive coronary in the middle of synagogue on Yom Kippur and make the newspapers and scar the entire communtiy for life.”
“I’m sure he didn’t do it on purpose, Mom. Although if you have to go it might as well be memorable.”
“Adam could have gotten married anywhere. A catering hall. Or that beautiful park on the river. But no, he had to pick Temple Beth Make-the-rest-of-your-mother’s-hair-fall-out.”
“You need more Valium?” Charlie said.
Please try to come back on Wednesday and meet Estelle and Laurie.
Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of four novels: The Joke’s on Me, Drawing Breath, Don’t Tell Anyone, and Sliding Past Vertical, due out in September 2013. When not playing with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, cooking, reading, and helping aspiring novelists as a contributing writer and editor for IndiesUnlimited.com. She lives in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley with her husband and the ghost of her mother-in-law.