Don George's Reviews > The Stranger In My Recliner

The Stranger In My Recliner by Doreen M. McGettigan
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's review
Jan 21, 2016

really liked it

Doreen McGettigan’s second book is not for the faint of heart. Her journey with Sophie, a homeless woman whom she and her husband John welcome into their home, is emotional, riveting and introspective. It’s very personal, perhaps too personal at times. But Sophie’s Story, to do it justice, needed to be that personal.
Have you cared for a parent with terminal disease in the end stages of their life? How about a child with severe developmental challenges? Have you provided daily care for a mentally, emotionally or physically challenged person?
Imagine, if you can, in body and soul, a lonely 82 year old woman, a total stranger, abandoned and living on the streets of your local community. Imagine that person with all of those afflictions. If you so dare to imagine, you have barely a snippet of Sophie. Her story is far more complex.
A few friends attempted, best as they could, to help Sophie. John, whom Sophie helped twenty years earlier, stumbled upon her downtrodden self and immediately felt a duty of obligation to provide something more. And Doreen, being the “caretaker” that she is, rose to the occasion. It was their divine calling.
The reader can’t help but ask, “What would I do?” For anyone who has cared for a person, a loved one, a friend with debilitating circumstances, you know the challenges and strain. This book will give comfort, knowing that others have similar experiences, emotional reactions, and thoughts.
If you’ve not had these experiences, consider yourself lucky, and know that eventually you should. Should? Why should? Simply, as Doreen asserts, we as families should have a sense of decency, a sense of commitment and a sense of responsibility to our family and friends in need. Sophie had none of that from her own family. And the government programs, seriously flawed, let her down too.
Doreens’ captivating story telling makes “Stranger” an easy and satisfying, albeit disturbing read. At times, the flow seems disjointed, but it works in the context of Doreen’s, John’s and Sophie’s gut wrenching relationships with each other, with others, and with the world at large.
Yes, I am being elusive about those details. Why? Because I could never do them justice the way Doreen tells the story. Read it. You be the judge. And take Sophie’s Challenge when done.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 19, 2016 – Finished Reading
January 21, 2016 – Shelved

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