Published on April 7th, 2015 | by TLV News0
Bettyville: A Memoir Author George Hodgman Reading at Thacker Mountain Radio April 16th
Seasoned writer and editor George Hodgman (W, Vanity Fair, Talk, Entertainment Weekly, Interview and Harper’s Bazaar) travels from his home in Manhattan to help his elderly mother Betty in Paris, Missouri. What he thinks will be a short visit turns into months as he tries to decide how to proceed with Betty’s care. As he agonizes over whether or not to place Betty in an assisted living facility, memories from his childhood and youth creep back into his mind.
With a population of around 1,200, Paris has all the quirks and characters of small town life, and Betty was once at the center of its social sphere. One such character is Wray, a close friend of George’s Mammy (grandmother). Wray is an alcoholic and a homosexual. Often the subject of ridicule and suspicion, Wray is the first gay man George ever knew. The memories of Wray and how he was treated force George to confront his own feelings as a gay man who grew up in a small close-minded town. Betty often made George feel ashamed of himself, and she never fully accepts George’s homosexuality.
Never a warm person, now more than ever Betty’s feisty personality grates on George’s patience and nerves. Ungrateful and crotchety, Betty refuses to acknowledge the sacrifice George makes by coming home to care for her. George has lost his job due to his absence, and friends worry about his depression and mental state.
Hodgman’s first book is truly a labor of love for his mother. Written with care and emotion, Hodgman easily evokes sympathy for both his dilemma and Betty’s struggle to admit she can no longer control her mind.