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Between Them: Remembering My Parents by…

Between Them: Remembering My Parents (2017)

by Richard Ford

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Showing 5 of 5
I asked for this book for Christmas and read it in under three days. That is not bragging; it is a slim volume. I am giving it five stars and you will have to read it yourself to find out why. Suffice to say that it works as a recital of facts, as a reflective piece and as a piece which encourages the reader to stand where the writer is and examine their own lives. ( )
  adrianburke | Dec 28, 2017 |
A copybook approach to writing about what you know and never knew about your parents. A life together lived separately. As Richard Ford says 'it did not occur to me to write about my parents in any way but as individuals'. ( )
  DukeofEarl | Dec 17, 2017 |
A simple story about simple folks, heartfelt and beautifully written. I wish I could write this for my parents. ( )
  tandah | Jul 28, 2017 |
Richard Ford offers a thoughtful, kind, measured account of his parents, a memoir both reflecting and opaque. The first half of the book is about his father, who died when Richard was only sixteen. Since much of his father’s life preceded his own, the greater part of this concentrates on that, his father as a young man and the fifteen years of marriage to Richard’s mother before Richard arrived relatively late in their lives. His father was diffident, shy, but also personable. He found his way in life to a position — regional salesman for a starch manufacturer — that perfectly suited his affability and his unconnectedness. It is clear that the relationship with Richard’s mother was the foundation of all that he became. He needed little more. And the same might be said of her. So his untimely passing left her bereft. Not inconsolable or incapable. Just bereft. The latter half of the memoir concentrates on Richard’s mother whom he loved and cared for even at a distance for the many years remaining until her own passing. That he should look back now some decades on at her life and more than half a century after his father’s death is both curious and precious.

Ford is never less than a brilliant and soulful writer. He approaches his subjects like characters in his novels, characters whom he cannot fully know. Nor does he wish to surmise. He observes. He records. He is patient. And kind. He acknowledges again and again that he grew up in love and that love suffused their relationship. And what remains is his fondness for his mother and for his father.

Perhaps you will be struck by a tinge of sadness in the lives of these people. Perhaps that will extend to the writer himself. He would not wish it. He notes in an afterword that a friend made such an observation of what he had written but he disavows this. If asked, he would say that he had a wonderful life.

Recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Jun 30, 2017 |
This is a gentle journey through Richard Ford's life with his parents and their imagined life without him. Ford was born 15 years after his parents were married, after they had become accustomed to their life together on the road (Dad Parker was a traveling salesman, and mom Edna accompanied him on his route). Although he grew up surrounded by love, Ford also knew of the occasional quick temper of both his parents. But other than that, there seems to be nothing but the bliss of being surrounded by warmth and security. With such a placid childhood, Ford wants to honor his parents who, unremarkable in all aspects, seem to be the least likely to be the subject of a memoir, especially as compared to all the fraught recollections that inundate readers constantly these days. His joy and his quiet wonderings about the mysteries of this couple make for an honorable tribute ,and a read that just flows gently from the father's story to the mother's (written 30 years apart). The photos scattered throughout just add to the intimacy of the story. ( )
1 vote froxgirl | May 27, 2017 |
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Somewhere, deep in my childhood, my father is coming home off the road on a Friday night.
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A stirring narrative of memory and parental love, Richard Ford tells of his mother, Edna, a feisty Catholic girl with a difficult past, and his father, Parker, a sweet-natured soft-spoken traveling salesman, both born at the turn of the twentieth century in rural Arkansas. For Ford, the questions of what his parents dreamed of and how they loved each other and him became a striking portrait of American life in the mid-century. With his celebrated candor, wit, and intelligence, the award-winning storyteller and creator of the iconic Frank Bascombe delivers an unforgettable exploration of memory, intimacy, and love.--… (more)

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