Scrabble in the Afternoon is the emotional journey of Biddy Wells as a caregiver to her sick mother. Often the world notices only the suffering of the one who is sick, and the challenges faced by the caregiver go unnoticed. Wells has journaled her fears, anxieties, resentment and challenges with utmost honesty.
I picked up this book mainly for its cover. The soothing image warmed the cockles of my heart.
The complicated relationship she shares with her mother right from her childhood till the very end is well portrayed. Well’s has had a difficult and confusing relationship with her mother, often feeling neglected and unloved.
“Motherhood was a long-haul – a life-long commitment – and she had not secured the things she needed and expected from the whole deal.”
Having felt less loved than her siblings, she has mixed feelings about her mother. But when it’s time to take care of her sick mother, Wells steps up and adorns the role of a caregiver. Though it is more out of compulsion and duty.
“For now, I had to sacrifice myself and my hard-won life to look after a woman who had not looked after me as I would have liked her to.”
As a caregiver, life is extremely stressful and filled with anxious moments for Wells. Her mother’s deteriorating health makes the situation all the more difficult for her and leave her drained–physically and emotionally. Wells fears getting sucked into her mother’s negative world, one which she had strived hard to step out of.
“Rather than find out where I stood or what I might have to offer, she made assumptions about me and my perspectives. She was somehow bigger than me.”
Living together in Wells’ house, both mother and daughter feel frustrated, powerless and guilty. Their situation eases when the mother moves into an assisted living unit after having living with Wells for over a year. At times, she is outside the circle and viewing her mother in a new light. And there are occasions when her mother accepts her without judgements and makes her feel welcome. There are a few joyous moments when mother and daughter break the walls between them and bond over a simple game of scrabble.
Being a care-giver is difficult, and even more so when the relationship between the concerned people is not smooth.
“Relationships between mothers and daughters are typically intense, complex and riddled with vulnerability.”
Over time Wells and her mother come to a clear understanding of their relationship and where they stand in each other’s’ lives. As also, Wells begins to understand her mother as a whole woman and tries to remember her mother in the light of positivity and happy memories.
Scrabble in the Afternoon is an honest but difficult portrayal of the mother daughter relationship. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes memoirs. It might be useful for someone in a similar situation.
Wordsopedia rating 3.8/5
|Title: Scrabble in the Afternoon
|Author: Biddy Wells
|Publisher: Parthian Books
|Publication date: September 1, 2021
|Genre: Non-Fiction (Memoir)
|No. of Pages:
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About the Author
Biddy Wells lives in west Wales. She is passionate about her writing. She walks daily and loves nature, especially the Pembrokeshire coast and hills. She has two grown up children and adores her relatively new role of grandmother. She loves to travel, particularly overland around Europe and she always loves to come home to Wales. Her first memoir, A Van of One’s Own, was a best-seller and continues to strike a chord with readers.