George fled his tiny home town of Paris, Missouri to lose himself in the publishing world of New York City and avoid what he saw as somehow failing his parents and town for being gay. When his ailing mother calls him home, he returns for what he thinks will be a few days. A few years later he is still there, free-lance editing from the card table set up next to the couch where his larger-than-life mother holds court even as her feet and her memory fail her. George captures perfectly their verbal interplay and emotional tug-of-war with a delightful, often self-deprecating humor. Betty, brutally aware of her failing memory, can still give as good as she gets. Told with warmth and humor, with a poignant, at times hilarious, dose of bumbling self-doubt, this is an original and affecting portrait of a remarkable woman and the son who loves her. -Kris' Top 10 Picks of 2015
When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself--an unlikely caretaker and near-lethal cook--in a head-on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will. Will George lure her into assisted living? When hell freezes over. He can't bring himself to force her from the home both treasure--the place where his father's voice lingers, the scene of shared jokes, skirmishes, and, behind the dusty antiques, a rarely acknowledged conflict: Betty, who speaks her mind but cannot quite reveal her heart, has never really accepted the fact that her son is gay. As these two unforgettable characters try to bring their different worlds together, Hodgman reveals the challenges of Betty's life and his own struggle for self-respect, moving readers from their small town--crumbling but still colorful--to the star-studded corridors of Vanity Fair. Evocative of The End of Your Life Book Club and The Tender Bar, Hodgman's New York Times bestselling debut is both an indelible portrait of a family and an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son's return.