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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 listeners 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 debut is both an indelible portrait of a family and an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son's return.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sara on 10-08-15
Title Should Be Georgeville-It's All About George
Once again the publisher summary misleads. Saying that this memoir is like The End of Life Book Club is just plain ridiculous. The only thing these two books have in common is that they are stories about a mother who is dying and her son. The End of Life Book Club is a loving eulogy written by a son. In that book the mother still has insight and the ability to read a collection of books with her son and discuss them. They connect.
This book starts out funny. Bitingly funny. Everything is a joke. Betty is portrayed as a character, a card, a total individual. A woman who cares deeply about her talents, appearance, her place in her community and most of all what people think. It is cringeworthy how she is laid bare with all her foibles hung out on the wash line to dry.
To me, there is a great deal of anger in the author's humor. Sharp anger that cuts deep, exposes and wounds.
32 of 41 people found this review helpful
By T. Williams on 03-28-15
I adore this book! Listening for the second time..
What did you love best about Bettyville?
It kept me hooked! I loved the gentle barbs between George and Betty. In spite of this, the listener has no doubts of the strong love and caring between mother and son.
Who was your favorite character and why?
I cannot make a choice here - George is such a colorful and charming character. Betty has a soft heart, but doesn't show it often. Just an unbeatable combo!
Which scene was your favorite?
Hard to choose.. so many. I was literally rolling during the scene where George took his mother to listen to the author speak. We have been there, done that with our 90's Pops.. the loud unfiltered commentary.. oh my! No one understands this unless you have actually gone through it.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I laughed and cried.. it is a beautiful yet often hilarious story of a Mother and Son, and so much more.
Any additional comments?
Not only is this an absolutely beautifully written book, the narrator does a fabulous job with all the voices. I am listening for the second time! I cannot recommend this book highly enough. A favorite! Don't miss this one!
8 of 11 people found this review helpful