Tuesday, February 16, 2016
When George Hodgman left Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, to care for his aging mother Betty, he expected to be away for only a few weeks. But life conspired to keep him there, armed with not much more than a (mostly) willing heart, a broken past to sort out, and two irascible personalities: his own, and Betty’s. In his hilarious, heartbreaking memoir, BETTYVILLE, Hodgman shares their unforgettable mother-son journey, capturing truths about family, identity, and our current American landscape. At the center of BETTYVILLE is the inimitable Betty, a woman of her own time, a small-town wife and mother who nevertheless chafed at her limitations—who hated bad hairdressers, baking cookies, and gossip; who loved roses, driving fast, and speaking her mind with pithy directness, especially when it came to her only son. Betty and George were often in cahoots and often at loggerheads, locked in battle but sworn allies as well. And for all they shared, he kept one big secret from Betty: his identity as a gay man. That secret—who he is, and why things unfolded the way they did—lies at the heart of this elegant memoir. From the corridors of Graydon Carter’s Vanity Fair and various publishing houses, through AIDS, Fire Island in the ‘80s, a life among celebrities, and a return to a hometown now hollowed out and struggling, Hodgman paints a take-no-prisoners portrait of distant parallel worlds. His story is bracing, honest, and often laugh-out-loud hilarious. Evocative of The End of Your Life Book Club and The Tender Bar, BETTYVILLE is a warm, funny book about what it means to care for an older parent, to come home to small-town America, and to have complicated relationships with the people around you. But above all, it’s a book about families: how families shape us, infuriate us, and often give us strength when we least expect it—and need it most. When you finish reading, you’ll wish you could spend more time with Betty, George, and the other residents of Bettyville. About the Author GEORGE HODGMAN is a veteran magazine and book editor who has worked at Simon & Schuster, Vanity Fair, and Talk magazine. His writing has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Interview, W, and Harper’s Bazaar. He lives in New York City and Paris, Missouri.
Posted by Arroe at 12:20 PM