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As We Are Now (1973)

by May Sarton

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3351178,441 (3.88)27
Bestselling author "May Sarton has never been better than she is in this beautiful, harrowing novel about being old, unwanted, yet refusing to give up" (The Boston Globe). After seventy-six-year-old Caro Spencer suffers a heart attack, her family sends her to a private retirement home to wait out the rest of her days. Her memory growing fuzzy, Caro decides to keep a journal to document the daily goings-on--her feelings of confinement and boredom; her distrust of the home's owner, Harriet Hatfield, and her daughter, Rose; her pity for the more incapacitated residents; her resentment of her brother, John, for leaving her alone. The journal entries describe not only her frustrations, but also small moments of beauty--found in a welcome visit from her minister, or in watching a bird in the garden. But as she writes, Caro grows increasingly sensitive to the casual atrocities of retirement-home life. Even as she acknowledges her mind is beginning to fail, she is determined to fight back against the injustices foisted upon the home's occupants. This ebook features an extended biography of May Sarton.… (more)
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» See also 27 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
A finely crafted novella about aging and the indignity of being "stored" in a nursing home. It was written in 1973 and I have to ask, "Is it true today?" I love Caro's spirit, but am uncomfortable with the book. (The fact that I had just moved my mother to an Alzheimer's unit three months prior to reading this obviously colored my perspective.) ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 3, 2016 |
This was a very well written account of what it's like to be old and unwanted. It was probably a poor choice on my account to read over the holidays. It left me very sad and not looking forward to old age. Most of what was written is very true of how people feel about the aged. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
This was a very well written account of what it's like to be old and unwanted. It was probably a poor choice on my account to read over the holidays. It left me very sad and not looking forward to old age. Most of what was written is very true of how people feel about the aged. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
A searing look at the hopelessness of despair, loneliness and old age, May Sarton's As We Are Now is a powerful study of a woman's resolve to relinquish herself by any means possible from the depths of the anger and anguish she feels from her surroundings. Told through the journals of Caro Spencer who has moved into a "home," not due to a lack of mental strength but of a physical frailty that leaves her unable to live alone. She keeps the journals at first as a record of her days as she fears she is losing her memory, but later the journals become a record of the mistreatment that she and the other "inmates" must endure at the hands of the two women who run the home. Told over the course of several months, this is the story of one woman's battle against age and the carelessness that the elderly can be treated with.

It's a powerful book, told quickly and to the point, and there are times that you forget you are reading a novel and feel like you are being given a first-hand account of a woman's battle against her keepers. I found myself feeling hopeless as there should be something that I could do to help ease her suffering, but then I would need to remind myself that this is a novel. One of Sarton's more powerful works. ( )
  tapestry100 | Mar 9, 2015 |
Following a heart attack, elderly Caro Spenser is brought to a remote and shabby nursing home to end her days. In an attempt to retain what is left of her individuality, Caro begins a diary she hopes will become a testament for future generations. No other writer is quite like May Sarton. In her meditative examination of Caro’s narrow, compassionless world, the reader can’t help but feel Sarton’s accusing finger pointed at the world at large. A powerful story for thoughtful readers and an intriguing companion read to Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture.
  vplprl | May 15, 2014 |
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As you are now, so once was I; Prepare for death and follow me. --New England tombstone
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I am not mad, only old.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Bestselling author "May Sarton has never been better than she is in this beautiful, harrowing novel about being old, unwanted, yet refusing to give up" (The Boston Globe). After seventy-six-year-old Caro Spencer suffers a heart attack, her family sends her to a private retirement home to wait out the rest of her days. Her memory growing fuzzy, Caro decides to keep a journal to document the daily goings-on--her feelings of confinement and boredom; her distrust of the home's owner, Harriet Hatfield, and her daughter, Rose; her pity for the more incapacitated residents; her resentment of her brother, John, for leaving her alone. The journal entries describe not only her frustrations, but also small moments of beauty--found in a welcome visit from her minister, or in watching a bird in the garden. But as she writes, Caro grows increasingly sensitive to the casual atrocities of retirement-home life. Even as she acknowledges her mind is beginning to fail, she is determined to fight back against the injustices foisted upon the home's occupants. This ebook features an extended biography of May Sarton.

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