Reviews for Elsewhere : Library Edition

AudioFile Reviews 2012 December
Richard Russo has dual roots: He grew up in a depressed mill town (like those his fictional characters inhabit), and he became an academic. His masculine yet professorial tone of voice reflects that background. Russo's narration may contain a note that is slightly too aggressive for such a beautiful and contemplative story of familial love with challenges, but it's still a heartfelt and sympathetic reading. Russo's emotions are palpable in this memoir of life with a needy, inflexible mother who suffers from "nerves" (which may actually be obsessive-compulsive disorder). His emotions in response to her are complicated: frustration at accommodating her strident needs, wonder as they successfully drive across country in a car called the "gray death," and fear when she experiences episodes of dementia. A.B. © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine

Library Journal Reviews 2013 June #2

Russo (Bridge of Sighs; Empire Falls) here writes about his own life as the only child of an emotionally ill mother. Prone to outbursts followed by calm periods, his mother thought happiness would be available if she could just be elsewhere, even if it meant returning to a place where she had lived previously. Finally, she quit her job to move to Arizona with Russo when he went there for college, causing him finally to recognize her illness. Even after Russo married, had children, and established a career, his mother's demands continued to shape the family dynamics. Russo succeeds in writing an unsentimental yet poignant and humorous account of coping with his beautiful, charming, yet destructive parent. The author's sensitive reading adds to the book's appeal. VERDICT Recommended for listeners interested in Russo's life and his upstate New York roots, as well as anyone with a mentally ill loved one.--Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

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