- Paperback: 318 pages
- Publisher: All Things That Matter Press; First edition (August 21, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0990715817
- ISBN-13: 978-0990715818
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 107 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,025,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Montpelier Tomorrow Paperback – August 21, 2014
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Montpelier Tomorrow displays a talent for exploring family relationships. In the eye of a storm, Colleen is a memorable, flawed, all-too-human wellspring of strength.--Karen Rigby for Foreword Reviews-Clarion Review
Each time I have read this fine novel, I have felt rewarded by the connection it offers to the central character. Colleen is that kind of character for which the large scale of the novel is made: her external and internal dilemmas have many dimensions; her relationships with other characters are shaped by complex past and present plot tensions; her viewpoint is transformative, that is, it presents the world as she alone perceives it. I can think of no single page in which her voice is not an irreplaceable gift to the reader.--Kevin McIlvoy, author of The Fifth Station, Little Peg, and Hyssop
In her novel Montpelier Tomorrow, Marylee MacDonald illuminates a seemingly dark, hopeless story with light, humor, and compassion. In the aftermath of her son-in-law's devastating diagnosis, Colleen Gallagher becomes increasingly driven to save her daughter and grandchildren even as she struggles to forge a life of her own. Montpelier Tomorrow is at once an engrossing account of the impossible choices faced by caregivers in the United States and a moving portrait of one close-knit, memorable family. -Katherine Shonk, author of The Red Passport and Happy Now?
Montpelier Tomorrow is a touching read that highlights not only the challenges faced by those suffering from ALS, but the resounding strength of love that unites a family in the face of overwhelming grief. This is also an uplifting tale that underscores the resilience of the human spirit and the unbreakable strength of the family bond.--Literary Fiction Book Review
"An affecting, deeply honest novel; at the same time, a lacerating indictment of our modern health care system."--Kirkus Reviews
From the Author
I grew up in California and worked as a carpenter and building editor while raising my children. When my last child graduated from college, I returned to writing and began to publish short stories. I wanted to write a novel, but never thought that ALS would be a subject I would come to know so well. The book began with notes written on the back of my hand and on Post-Its as I attempted to carve out a few minutes to write during my busy day as a caregiver. Any caregiver, for any long-term debilitating disease, will recognize her or himself in these pages; but, this is not a diary, nor is it autobiographical. I hope it is, as Wordsworth said of poetry, "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." I found that tranquility in writing residencies at Footpaths for Creativity, Hawthornden Castle, and the Vermont Studio Center for the Arts.
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Top customer reviews
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Colleen Gallagher went from being a caregiver for her mother to supporting her daughter as she cared for her husband with ALS disease. The many decisions that have to be considered for the whole family can be overcoming.
I highly recommend this book for those who are caregivers, or are about to become caregivers. It will give you food for thought, plus an emotional release to read someone else’s journey through years of carry for a terminally ill patient.
This is a story of a middle-aged woman who devotes herself to caring for her son-in-law when he develops Lou Gehrig’s disease. At first, Colleen Gallagher’s instinct was just to help her daughter, who gave birth to her second child the same week her husband was diagnosed. But as her son-in-law Tony’s disease progressed, he became the third child in the family, not only physically disabled but regressively self-centered, so that his wife simply could not cope.
The novel raises so many questions: What does it mean to be a good mother, a good wife? How do we make end-of-life decisions that preserve the dignity not only of the dying, but of the caregivers? How do we make end-of-life decisions when the consequences of putting someone on a respirator or a feeding tube are not honestly discussed by medical professionals? Why is it so difficult to get a terminally ill person onto Medicaid? Who pays for custodial care? Who should?
You cannot read this novel and come away unchanged.
Marylee writes with such conviction that we would believe reading this novel that it must be a memoir. But that is indeed the sign of a powerfully inspired writer - to bring the reader into a space about the struggles life doles out and how some people cope while others cave. In her opening chapter she demonstrates the insight and compassion that pervade this story. `Time robs us of chances for reconciliation. Time makes us liars. I wanted to save my daughter, and even now, I don't know what made me think I could keep her from going through what I had gone through, widowed and pregnant, all at the same time. The scars from her father's death had never fully healed, but if not for Tony's illness, Sandy would have sailed into her future and I would have gone on trying to save the world, one kindergartner at a time.' The flavor is set and the story can be summarized as follows: A mid-life mom, Colleen Gallagher would do anything to protect her children from harm. When her daughter's husband falls ill with ALS, Colleen rolls up her sleeves and moves in, juggling the multiple roles of grandma, cook, and caregiver, only to discover that even her superhuman efforts can't fix what's wrong.'
For those unfamiliar with the diagnosis, ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their demise. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe. The motor nerves that are affected when you have ALS are the motor neurons that provide voluntary movements and muscle control.
The manner in which Marylee weaves this diagnosis into the fabric of her story makes it one of the finer books on caregiving and family interaction. One reason the book works so well - and it does work extraordinarily well - is the grounding of the characters as real people facing calamity and coping. Mother, daughter, son in law, grandchildren - disease. She blends the story so well that there is not a moment of artifice: this is simply a life situation that is faced with the impossible made possible through genuine love. A very beautiful and richly rewarding book. Grady Harp, August 15