Barefoot in the Rain

Barefoot in the Rain

Book - 2012
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When she comes home after being embroiled in a scandal, Jocelyn Bloom tries to adjust to the changes in her father, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, and make amends with his caregiver Will Palmer--the man she left behind.
Publisher: New York : Forever, 2012.
ISBN: 9781620906224
9781455508273
1455508276
Characteristics: x, 434 p. ; 17 cm.

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Sarah1984
May 05, 2016

I understand Will's attitude towards putting Guy in a care home, but he has to realise that there comes a time when in home care is no longer an option. Often when a person's memory gets as bad as Guy's is they tend to forget more than just the past, they forget to take care of themselves - bathing, eating, and toileting. When that happens it can become very difficult for family members to continue to care for their relative themselves as there are often times when the person doesn't make it to the toilet in time and this can be quite distressing for all involved.

My grandad has a type of dementia called Dementia with Lewy Bodies, which causes severe and constant auditory and visual hallucinations. We are currently managing his care through having him live in a granny flat within steps of our home. He is capable of making himself toast and mashed egg or microwaving some soup but we no longer trust him to use his stove or oven without hurting himself, so we cook all his main meals for him. He is no longer physically capable of managing any housework more strenuous than sweeping his kitchen floor or wiping the bench, so we have cleaners come in to take care of everything else once a week. Grandad sees people in the yard who aren't there, hears what he believes are builders working during all hours of the night, and has become quite paranoid about what the neighbours are doing (even though they aren't actually doing anything). There will come a day, when Grandad needs 24 hour supervision and care whilst toileting, which we can't provide. If/when he starts to forget us it will definitely be time to consider more professional care.

I also question Will's determination to get Jocelyn to forgive her father for his behaviour while she was growing up. Just because he no longer remembers doesn't mean she can forgive and forget. The abuse he heaped on her (and her mother) growing up permanently changed her life. And because he doesn't remember what he did he can't even ask for her forgiveness or make amends. He just acts like it never happened, because for him it didn't. Asking Jocelyn to forgive her father when her father's behaviour has only changed because his brain is degenerating, rather than because the person she knew as a teenager is actually remorseful, is not fair. It's like not jailing a murder because they got hit on the head and no longer remember their crimes. Just because they don't remember doesn't mean they're not guilty.

Okay, now I understand that Will didn't realise the extent of the abuse Jocelyn and her mother were suffering at the hands of Guy and that's why he was so blasé about the whole 'forgive and forget' idea. What I don't understand is why he didn't realise. I mean he lived next door and was BFFs with one of the occupants of the house, how did he not notice. My neighbours on one side are very loud arguers - with each other and with their teenage children - if you happen to be outside while they're arguing inside you can actually catch the gist of the argument. There is no way we could miss hearing domestic violence going on, and we're not exactly what you would call 'friendly' with these neighbours.

I felt like the plot of this focussed more on Guy and his illness than it did on Jocelyn and Will's relationship. Everything circled back to him - Jocelyn's decision to leave and to not have sex, Will's original passivity regarding Jocelyn's departure and the lack of a call from his agent, then Jocelyn's decision to stay while Will left (or so she thought). Community awareness of Alzheimer's is very important but I felt like that theme took over the whole book, leaving little room for romance. The romance felt rushed, like they had to fit it in between crises with Guy, almost like they were still teenagers trying to avoid getting caught by their parents.

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