This novel was not what I expected. I was expecting a light read but this novel lead me down some roads I wasn’t expecting. The novel centers around Ruth who has returned home and then decides to stay just one year to help take care of her father. She stresses many times in the novel, the length of her stay, her reasons seem to vary. Her father is a college professor who started to experience memory loss and Alzheimer’s lies in his future. Her mother gave up cooking as she believed the metal from the pots were causing her husband’s illness and now she is on a vitamin and shake kick. Her father lost his job because of his illness and this affects him greatly. During the day while her mother works, Ruth cares for her father who locks himself away in his office. His students and his teaching assistant come up with a plan to help the professor, inventing a college course, that is not on the curriculum, that he will teach. This class must be kept confidential as the college is unaware of this development. I really enjoyed these sections of the novel: his lectures, his attitude, the commitment of his students and aide and the fun and unique venues the class was held in. It warmed my heart that they cared so much about him.
Ruth discovers some truths about her parents while she is living with them, truths that open her eyes to the adults who are her parents. These were great reflections as Ruth unravels them. Her father begins sharing a journal with her, a journal he made while she was growing up. I liked the way these entries were shared and the effect that they had on Ruth. The more Ruth is at home, the more she begins to reflect on her own life and its direction. Perhaps this visit helped Ruth more than it helped her father. I'm on the fence between a 3 and 4 star read.