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Posted January 29, 2006
Not worth the time
I was not impressed with this book. I saw it listed in recommendations in an old magazine and decided to give it a try. I found it was not what I thought it would be, and the jacket blurb promising 'screamingly funny' bits was a lie. I barely managed a wry chuckle, and the only time I snorted a laugh was when Denis complained about the toilet paper and shower pressure. The problem I had with the book is all the unanswered questions I had. Why in the world didn't her mother, sister or father or Denis' family help her out more? although her sister did a great thing buying Ann some clothes. I wondered if she got phone calls from anyone, including Denis after he returned to the US. No mention of friends offering support besides the ones she made in Britain. Nowhere did I get the impression Denis was any support for her, whether he was in the US or UK, he always seemed to be off doing comedy, and when he was actually in the UK, he was sleeping after a gig and wasn't to be disturbed. I was also repulsed by her stories of her parents besides adding very little to the story, if I were either of her parents I would be very hurt by her public, blunt assessments of me. I had hopes of hearing more about culture clash, but apart from her dealing with the nursing staff, there were few observations about being in another country. Granted, I can understand her being totally obsessed with her son's well-being to the point of neglecting one's appearance, but it would have been nice to have fewer descriptions of the machinery and the umpteen repeats of the heart and breathing scares, and more of the daily stuff-where did she eat besides the hospital cafeteria how did she do laundry in the flat after Jack's discharge, was the washing machine ever fixed? etc., etc. If the book contained more memories of the time after Jack was released from the hospital, it might have made up for all the self-pitying that makes up the first half of the book. This book feels less like a reminiscence of an American adrift in a foreign country than a 'poor me' memoir of someone who had something extraordinary happen to them far from home. I'm glad Jack made it through and flourished, but this book is really a jumble of disjointed memories of something that happened long ago, without any fleshing out. I'm convinced if she weren't Denis Leary's wife, this book would never have seen the light of day. Perhaps Ann Leary will do better if she tries fiction, I'd be willing to read a novel, but won't recommend this book.
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