Home Is Burning

Home Is Burning

A Memoir

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
5
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"For the Marshalls, laughter is the best medicine. Especially when combined with alcohol, pain pills, excessive cursing, sexual escapades, actual medicine, and more alcohol. Meet Dan Marshall. 25, good job, great girlfriend, and living the dream life in sunny Los Angeles without a care in the world. Until his mother calls. And he ignores it, as you usually do when Mom calls. Then she calls again. And again. Dan thought things were going great at home. But it turns out his mom's cancer, which she had battled throughout his childhood with tenacity and a mouth foul enough to make a sailor blush, is back. And to add insult to injury, his loving father has been diagnosed with ALS. Sayonara L.A., Dan is headed home to Salt Lake City, Utah.Never has there been a more reluctant family reunion: His older sister is resentful, having stayed closer to home to bear the brunt of their mother's illness. His younger brother comes to lend a hand, giving up a journalism career and evenings cruising Chicago gay bars. His next younger sister, a sullen teenager, is a rebel with a cause. And his baby sister - through it all - can only think about her beloved dance troop. Dan returns to shouting matches at the dinner table, old flames knocking at the door, and a speech device programmed to help his father communicate that is as crude as the rest of them. But they put their petty differences aside and form Team Terminal, battling their parents' illnesses as best they can, when not otherwise distracted by the chaos that follows them wherever they go. Not even the family cats escape unscathed.As Dan steps into his role as caregiver, wheelchair wrangler, and sibling referee, he watches pieces of his previous life slip away, and comes to realize that the further you stretch the ties that bind, the tighter they hold you together"-- "Dan's mom has always had cancer. First diagnosed when he was only ten years old, she was the model of resilience throughout his childhood, fighting her disease with tenacity and a mouth foul enough to make a sailor blush. But just as she faces a relapse, her husband -a successful businessman and devoted father-is diagnosed with ALS. He is told that in a few months' time, he will be unable to walk, eat, or breathe on his own. Dan, a recent college graduate living the good life in Los Angeles, has no choice but to return home to help. Reinstalled in his parents' basement (in one of the only non-Mormon homes in a Salt Lake City subdivision) Dan is reunited with his siblings. His older sister Tiffany is resentful, having stayed closer to home to bear the brunt of their mother's illness. Younger brother Greg comes to lend a hand, giving up a journalism career and evenings cruising Chicago gay bars. Younger sister Michelle is a sullen teenager experimenting with drinking and flirting with her 35-year-old soccer coach. And baby sister Chelsea-the oddest duck in a family of misfits-can only think about dance. Together they form Team Terminal, going to battle against their parents' illnesses and cracking plenty of jokes along the way. As Dan steps into his role as caregiver, wheelchair wrangler, and sibling referee, he watches pieces of his previous life slip away, and comes to realize that you don't get to choose when it's time to grow up"--
Publisher: New York :, Flatiron Books,, 2015.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250068828
Branch Call Number: BIO MARSHALL
Characteristics: xi, 304 pages ; 25 cm

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c
ctkvlk
Mar 08, 2017

Wow--if the expletive in the title was listed in the catalog I might have avoided this book. The author warns you in the intro about his foul language and dysfunctional family. I think he is the biggest problem--an overgrown frat boy who can't deal with his emotions any other way than by drinking heavily and swearing profusely. Very sad and pathetic. The only redeeming part of this book is to see the grace with which is father confronts his disease and impending death. Not sure you want to wade through all the dreck to get to that, though. Grow up, dude.

g
guinn
Apr 19, 2016

If you don't want to see a lot of profanity, don't read this book. I decided pretty quickly not to continue and stopped reading early on.

s
skolbibliotek
Apr 03, 2016

i just finished reading this book, although i confess I did not read every page, actually i skipped many due to the use of language which showed the author's poverty of spirit.
i certainly felt the love he and the family have for each other, yet this book left me with an uncomfortable taste.
what purpose did all that foul language have that could not have been better expressed without it?

g
gvlee
Dec 31, 2015

A profane and irreverent recounting of how Dan, aged 25, and his siblings struggle to care for their dad, who is diagnosed with ALS at age 53, even as their mother battles cancer. The opening is weak, but stay with it--it improves enormously. The profanity, rather than being offensive, provides a much needed outlet for the family's anger and grief. Dan describes a family that is very wacky and very inspiring.

g
GeorgeMyers
Nov 28, 2015

I forced myself to read as far as page 45. That was more than enough.

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