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Women Within: A Novel, by Anne Leigh Parrish.

November 26, 2018

Women Within
Women Within: A Novel,  by Anne Leigh Parrish.   Black Rose Writing, 2017.

3 stars

The stories of three women; a 92-year-old in a retirement community and two women who take care of her.

Anne Leigh Parrish was born in upstate New York but eventually made her way west. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado and a MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle. She has published a number of award-winning short stories, and this is her second novel.

Although Parrish identifies Women Within as a novel, it is structured more like three related short stories. The first focuses on a resident in a retirement home, a woman who has taught in college and has strained relations to the woman she raised as a daughter.  The other stories are about two of the women who are on staff and responsible for her care.  All three women have had disrupted and challenging lives.

I liked the idea structuring this book, but overall, my positive expectations were not meet.  The relationship among the women was too slight for them to have meaningful interaction or feelings about each other.  The stories of the caregivers were simply dull as each drifted passively through events and relationships.  Any hope that the caregivers have at the end of their stories is negated by their lack of willingness to take hold of their lives.  Perhaps the author meant to raise the profile of women devoted to caregiving, but their lack of direction did not make for good reading.

Overall, the book is adequate, but not interesting.

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