Why She Left Us


LITERARY FICTION:   An immoral paraplegic, impotent sociopath, spinster aunt, and institutionalized murderer tell Betsy’s tragic tale of.  Betsy is like a librarian Barbie   She’s beautiful, smart, self-sacrificing, and naïve.  Set in the late 80s, Betsy’s youngest sister and mother make her humiliation and degradation a tag-team sport.  Her beloved middle sister, and only solace, has married and slips further and further away from her.  Aunt Lucille shares in Betsy’s home duties but is so caught up in bitterness, she’s blind to the abuse before her.  Wayne Brown Jr. is hired by Betsy’s mother to do repairs around the house for the summer but when he falls from a ladder while painting, Betsy gives him unconditional love and care that he’s never known before.  Their love frees Betsy’s bonds and she’s finally liberated—until Wayne leaves for basic training.   

“Why She Left Us” is as heartbreaking as Steel Magnolias and Romeo and Juliet but lacks the lingering loveliness.  Despicable, yet believable, characters gall and disgust with every character expressing the desire to die and/or commit murder.  The writing is good but the pacing is slow. The emotion the author wishes to convey is consuming.  One is dragged through, wallowed in, and suffocated with crushing depression.  The one bright ray is nowhere near enough to break through the oppressive gloom. When reading this one, go in armed with tissue, ice cream, and the most depressing hits of the 80s.  

Sandy Ponton