This is a novella featuring Vera Blackstone from S.D. O’Donnell’s novel Deadly Memories. It is written as the type of letter you would leave behind for your loved ones when you die. A confession, a lightening of the heavy burden she has carried for over 35 years. A chance to finally take a breath with a clear conscience and at the same time helping those around her to understand Vera. Her actions, her choices and her personality become a lot clearer.
I enjoyed the frankness and realistic approach to the topic. There are no platitudes or fluffy marshmallow scenes. Instead it is the hard reality of life.
Why must the terminally ill suffer till the very last hour? Would you be able to make a choice of that magnitude? Should we have to help loved ones in secret because it is a crime in most countries? Or take them to die on foreign soil because the rules say they have to suffer till their body gives in?
The way O’Donnell approached the relationship between Alice and her parents is also very interesting. Mother and daughter have a fractured relationship full of friction. Alice is a Daddy’s girl, which is fine but she resents her mother and is critical of the care her father is getting. She even goes as far as to threaten prosecution if she finds out her mother has killed her father. A clear case of putting her needs and wishes over that of her parents.
Vera is a strong woman, who loves her husband very much, which is why she chooses to listen to his wishes and not those of her own. Sitting on that type of secret for so many years would probably be the undoing of most people. It not only makes Vera stronger, it defines her as a person and also helps her to understand her own choice at the time.
For such a short piece it was quite emotional and prolific. I have to say I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more by O’Donnell.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author.