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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
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 story is told through Colleens eye as her son-in-law is diagnosed with ALS and she rushes to her daughters (Sandy) house to attempt to help be a caregiver to her husband and the kids. Her efforts are not always appreciated and there is a palpable resentment towards Colleen as well as a feeling of complicated family dynamics throughout the story. We find the answers out as to the why for some of these feelings, but it doesn’t seem like enough of a reason I think. This is a hard book to read as the characters are not always likeable and through their actions in this story they seem to lack basic compassion and human decency. However, the fact that it highlights this horrific disease and helps showcase the hardships placed upon the family means that it is worthwhile to read.
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.