I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

IS LIFE ONE BIG GOODBYE - One Homeless Woman's Survival Story by Rose Lamatt

Genre: Memoir
Rating: Highly Recommended
ISBN: 9781466252929, $14.50, 412 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:
I blend into the walls, like other women: faceless, no expression–a dead look. I’ve lost my identity, my individuality. I no longer know myself. The other women are young, Black, Hispanic, few White, like me. Most have been abused by fathers, mothers, husbands or children. Children who don’t want to care for mothers sign them in after they have been released from psychiatric facilities. Twenty-year olds are put here by mothers or fathers after they come from drug or alcohol centers. Children don’t want to care for mothers and mothers don’t want to care for children–their own flesh and blood. If there’s a ‘me’ underneath this faceless disguise that has attached itself to my body, I want it to leave, now!

“After having been married with children, a nice home, belonging to golf country clubs, and divorce, at age 68, after surgery and medical bills, I had no choice but to move into a Homeless Shelter.

“About author
Rose Lamatt was born on Long Island, NY, the daughter of an emigrant Italian father and a mother from South Philly. She married, raised a family and lived on Long Island until moving to Florida in l985.

“Her passion for writing started at fourteen when she wrote, The Day the Russians Bombed Us, inspired by the fear of the Cold War Era. Over the years she has learned that life can change in the blink of (an) eye; and because of several blinks, she did not fulfill her passion until her first novel was published in 2005.

“She writes of her past with great respect and has learned that by giving herself, she learned the best of herself.”

Is Life One Big Goodbye is a memoir by Rose Lamatt, a 68-year old, convalescing white woman, living in a Florida homeless shelter for eight months while waiting to hear from low-income housing. We know the economy is bad but how did this woman arrive at such a place?

And, at the same time, this memoir is poignantly more than just a memoir. It addresses, with an elegant simplicity, core problems within America’s contemporary society. Lamatt writes from her subjective perspective of life in a homeless shelter–lack of privacy, changing roommates, rules, locked doors, fights, noise, chores, poor food, and goodbyes. She shares her unspoken thoughts with us, often negative...struggling to be positive.

Lamatt arrived at SHAW, Shelter for Homeless and Abused Women, possibly as the result of choices she’d made in life, which we’re all apt to make, but regardless, she was able to endure this experience and realize the spiritual benefits–new friends, extended family, an opportunity to give of herself, and a realization that we are all one.

This is the second book I’ve reviewed for Rose Lamatt. Her first book, Fears Flutterby , was about her earlier life, agoraphobia, marriage, children, friend Carol, and fourteen years care taking Carol, who eventually died of Alzheimer’s. That book, as well as this one, have touched me deeply in the sense that, “But for the grace of God....”

Since her first publication, Lamatt’s style of writing has delightfully improved. I particularly like the short chapters–each one different, each containing an element of harsh reality tempered with patience and faith. Her use of similes, metaphors and humor enrich the quality of the fabric she weaves.

What did Rose have when family and friends turned away? She had herself and her faith in the Creative Energy of the Universe.

I cannot think of anyone who would not be touched by this memoir. It is timely, honest and highly recommended.

Kaye Trout - January 8, 2012