Sunday, March 8, 2009

Review: That Went Well by Terrell Harris Dougan

I hadn't heard of this book before I read a fellow book blogger's post saying that she had gotten it as a review book in the mail. After doing a little research on it, I commented on her blog that I was interested in reading it as well. Little did I expect that to lead to a review copy in my own mailbox, but it did. And I am not only glad that I heard about this book but I am also very grateful for the opportunity to read it and let all of you know about it too. Dougan has written quite a lovely book in her book That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for My Sister. Dougan's younger sister Irene is mentally disabled. This memoir covers the time from Irene's birth to the present, when Dougan has taken care of Irene, both now in their sixties, in one way or another, for years. Dougan doesn't flinch from telling the hard bits about having a mentally disabled sister but she leavens this with large doses of humor and love, also part and parcel of their lives. She tells of the toll that Irene's disability wreaked on their family but also the wonderful positives that came of it: when her parents were told that Irene couldn't go to school, they started their own to serve the children and later adults who had been left out of mainstream public education, knowing that all people deserve access to an education. Dougan joined in the crusade when she was old enough, advocating for Irene and many others like her. And when the Harris parents both passed away, Dougan took on the full time care of Irene even as she raised her own family, overseeing Irene's caregivers in the apartment where she could live on her own, keeping track of Irene's medical needs, and just generally being available when Irene or her companions needed her. The book is organized into fairly short chapters given that it spans 60 years and there were portions where I wished for more detail or extended versions of the entertaining bits she was recounting, but overall, this was a very sweet, candid tale of two sisters, both of whom have greatly enriched her sister's life.

1 comment:

  1. I just received an offer on this one, and since I'm more of a fiction lover, I was planning on passing. I think, given my experience with The Geography of Love and Big Sid's Vincati, in addition to your review, I may have to accept it after all!!


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