Alderton Explores The Art Of Caregiving
p. 44 “Why couldn’t I just let it go? Why couldn’t I let her think my childless life allowed me to rise at noon and lie in a warm bath of milk and honey all day while being fanned with dodo feathers?”
These are just some of the thoughts echoing through her mind as depicted in her novel Ghost, as the 30-something protagonist Nina navigates the slippery slope of her career as a food writer, various romances and managing adult friendships. Living with her mother who had decided on a whim to change her name from Nancy to Mandy just to suit her current state of mind and a father who is a stroke survivor but does not have much time to live, readers are at once immersed from the get-go.
Although her peer group busies themselves with passion projects and hobbies, Nina finds that one of the biggest sources of her isolation from them is the fact that she cannot seem to ‘fit in’ with these people whom she used to know and read like the back of a map — all because they have grown older and started families of their own, all because they could no longer pass out drunk at a pub at 3 a.m. in the morning because their kids needed to be read bedtime stories, fed and tucked into bed, ready for another school year. These feelings, mixed with her confusion toward whether or not to “settle down with a decent husband and keep a pet beagle” makes up the gist of the plot.
The usage of run-on sentences and slapstick humor are two main techniques which demonstrate the depth of Alderton’s insights toward what it means to be a modern adult carer. In lively narration and moderate pace, the book not only mentions the frustration of a down-on-your-luck single woman looking for a lifelong companion, but explains the strangeness of reconciling with somebody whom you thought had long ago disappeared from your life ; it also meets the criteria for anyone who has ever understood the difficulties of parenting your parents in middle-age.