I wrote this book about you.

No?

Well, here’s how it goes with my new book I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around.

I’m holding the book and a person next to me reads the title and laughs. Then as if I’ve caught them doing something embarrassing like thinking something not so nice about someone in their life they look at me and say, “What is this about?”

I say, “It’s about a radio therapist whose mother has Alzheimer’s and she is alone in caring for her and her sister’s colicky newborn. Her life just unravels underneath her while she tries to solve a mystery hidden in her families past. They nod interested.

Then they squint their eyes and say, “But, who is this about?”1

I say, “The character Tig Monohan who was also in my last book The Dog year. She’s sassy and sure of herself until she’s not.”

They nod again, like I’m just not hearing them. They try a new tact. “What gave you the idea for this book?”

“Sometimes, I just want to be able to call someone and get some help with the unfairness of life. Like, I just want to call the universe and have them weigh in and give me a hand. So I wrote a radio therapist who does just that. People call in and tell their story and she decides if what is happening is fair or not. Like Judge Judy without the yelling or law involved “Ahhhh they say,” as if now we’re getting somewhere. “So, what do you think is unfair? Who do you want to tattle on and get help with.”

I know what they want.

They want me to tell them who the title is about. Like when Carly Simon sang, You’re so vain. People still want to know, who is so vain. Who??

The truth is, it’s not about any one person in particular. It’s about everyone in general.

It’s about this woman who is trying to figure out her relationships. Yes that’s me, but it’s also everyone I know. It’s about a woman who is a caregiver and can’t always decide when enough is enough. Me again, and I’m thinking you too. It’s about a woman with Alzheimer’s who kept secrets, her daughter who also had a lock and key on her life, and a therapist who has to untangle everything to figure out why she thinks everything is funny and a little bit sad.

I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around is about all of us trying to figure out the people we love. I hope you like it and if you do, let me know. If not, well, maybe you can sit over there and wait to tell me when I’m not around. ☺

 

First published in part here.

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