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November 1, 2021

Carry the Dog by Stephanie Gangi ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"The past is like an optical illusion. The closer I get, the further away it is."

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Carry the Dog
November 2021; Algonquin Books; 978-1643751276
audio, ebook, print (288 pages); literary fiction

Bea is a 59-year-old woman still running from her childhood.  When she was a child, her mother, a famous and well-known photographer, took a series of nude pictures of Bea and her two brothers as children and into their teenage years.  The series was known as the Marx Nudes.  The pictures were celebrated by some people but appalling to others and her mother was accused of pornography.  The truth is the children have dealt with the photos for their entire lives and tried to put the photos and their childhood memories out of their minds.  Not only the memories of the pictures being taken was traumatic but the children were forced to participate even when they were uncomfortable.  It's putting it mildly to say that this was a very dysfunctional family.

Now at almost 60, Bea has been approached by a filmmaker who wants to do a movie about her mother and the nude photos.  At the same time, she's been approached by the Museum of Modern Art who wants to do a retrospective showing of the photos.  Brea is desperately short on money and has to make a decision whether to take the money and run or leave it all locked away in a storage building.  The decision on how to handle this situation brings back lots of memories -- her memories and maybe not the real situations.  Her mother and one brother are dead and she is estranged from her other brother so she has no one to talk to about her childhood and no way to get to the real truths.  

It was great to read a book with an older female main character.  She is facing old age and realizes after being so visible to the world as a child she is now basically invisible as an aging female.  Bea is a complex character with a huge decision to make.  She thinks that she's a weak person but finds out while making this decision how resilient she really is.

This intriguing novel is about truth vs memory, disappointment vs gratitude, connection vs vulnerability,  It's difficult to read in parts but well worth reading about Bea's growth as a person in later life.  

Buy Carry the Dog at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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