MIRA, March 2003
Review by Sissy Jacobson
Five years after her husband's death, Ellen Jameson, eternal optimist that she is, describes her family move as "downsizing" her life. Their home, business, and all of their assets had to be liquidated to pay Paul's medical bills. Now it's either move in with her mother Wilma, or live out of her aging Chrysler Concorde. With her twenty-one-year old daughter, Amber, and three-year-old granddaughter Jet in tow, they're "movin' on down." All that's left of their worldly goods is in the orange trailer they are pulling.
Amber, who dealt with her grief over her father's death by getting pregnant and dropping out of school, has a job in the mall. She's assistant manager in a lingerie shop, which is just a fancy title for harder work and longer hours with no overtime pay. She tries to be like the losers she runs with now, but just can't quite sink that low. Amber is grateful for her mother's help with Jet, yet she's torn. She wants to be the central person in Jet's life. Ellen gets an accounting job with The Cowboys of Taxes, located in a rundown, seedy section of San Antonio. It's a far cry from the BankOne Tower offices she and her husband owned, but hey, it's a job with an income.
Wilma, a sixty-one-year old with emphysema, has to pull an oxygen tank with her wherever she goes. This is a real drag for a woman who always believed "get a man" was the answer to all her financial problems. She is a much married, divorced, or widowed "serial bride." It's difficult to tell who is caring for whom…Wilma for Jet or Jet for Wilma. Jet is happy. She has the attention of mama, gramma, and Wilma. A bright, beautiful child, Jet is the glue that holds this family together.
LETTING GO is an all too real slice-of-life account of four females living together in one house, with one bathroom, pulling together to make a life for themselves and their precious Jet. It's a story of letting go of past mindsets, starting over, and growing in the process. Pamela Morsi has taken what could be a sad, maudlin story and used her trademark style of humor to tell it in an upbeat manner with laugh out loud moments. She lets us see the reality of these women's lives, but doesn't depress us with it. A colorful cast of characters added to the mix very subtly teaches us lessons worth learning.
This book is a winner all the way around. One of the best I've read in a very long time.
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