Elderly couple Hugh and Betty Roberts live on an Iowa farm. Betty has dementia, and Hugh is trying his best to care for her, but he’s struggling, and the farm has seen better days. One day they find an injured bird on the property. This tiny creature sparks something in Betty that Hugh hasn’t seen in a while. He decides to help Betty care for the bird, hoping it will bring a bit of life back into Betty, who spends most of her time staring into space or at a wall.
When daughter-in-law Eileen and grandson Jacob decide to move in to help care for Betty, things improve on the farm. Jacob gets his own calves to look after, and Eileen decides to plan a large Thanksgiving dinner in the barn. By bringing family and community together, she hopes they can enjoy time together and appreciate the things they have, even if all isn’t as they would like it to be.
Boy is both a sweet and sad tale of a family nearly destroyed by dementia and the previous loss of their only son. But, Ms. Hamiliton does a terrific job of making this book one of hope and love. It’s well written and wonderfully descriptive. Anyone who has the task of looking after a loved one or patient with Alzheimer’s or dementia will appreciate how she highlights Hugh and Betty’s struggles and uncertainties.
I loved that Boy the bird had his own voice in this book with quite a bit to say. His addition brought in an element of delight and wonder that helped lift the story from one of sadness to one of hope. I laughed when he thought the boogeyman was coming into the chicken coop to get him. And, I was happy his side of the tale had a happy ending when he found a female feathered friend. But, I was less happy about Sarah shooting squirrels to keep them away from the pies she left cooling on the porch.
I appreciated Ms. Hamilton’s ability to capture a sense of nostalgia and acknowledge changing times, especially when she mentioned that one didn’t have to think about food allergies at pot luck dinners in the past. One simply ate what was served. I also love that she included plenty of backstories so that I could learn more about Betty’s life before she was affected by dementia. Her characters were interesting and engaging and never too young or too old to help out around the town or learn something new. All in all, this was a heartwarming story about love and loss and learning to cope with tragic circumstances without losing faith in life and finding joy and comfort in the small things life has to offer.
|Publisher||Willow River Press|
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|Category||Parenting & Families|