A Daughter's Tale of Life and Death
Zoe FitzGerald Carter chats about IMPERFECT ENDINGS
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Read an Excerpt
I don’t have to answer the phone. On my knees in the bathroom, daughters just settled into the tub, I have the perfect excuse to ignore it. Let the machine pick it up instead. But I push off my knees and head for the door, my brain several steps behind my body as it usually is by this time of day.
Only then do I pause, reluctant to leave the steamy warmth of the bathroom, the giddiness of my naked children who are lolling at one end of the tub, pouring water on each other. At four and eight, Lane and Clara are hardly at risk for drowning, but I remind them to be careful—keep the water... see more
Reading Group Guide
Zoe FitzGerald Carter’s mother, Margaret, is a beautiful, independent-minded woman who has suffered from Parkinson’s and other ailments for over twenty years. Knowing that her future holds only further debilitation and the slow erosion of both her body and her pride, Margaret decides to “end things”—and asks her three daughters to be there with her when she does it.
For months, Margaret discusses possible means of suicide and repeatedly sets and changes her “death dates.” Zoe and her sisters begin to wonder if she is serious and, if she is, who among them is willing to take on the emotional and legal risks of being with her at the end? As the “good daughter,” Zoe wants to help her mother achieve a good death but is distraught at the prospect of losing her. Revisiting difficult scenes from her past—including memories of her larger-than-life father, her glamorous, stubborn mother, and her warring sisters—Zoe finds herself examining her own see more