Paula-Loves-Marla's Blog

Observations about Art, Movies, Books, etc.

Brief Book Reviews – Robert Goolrick

On my last trip to Berkeley Springs, WVwith my girlfriends, someone brought up the book “A Reliable Wife” by Robert Goolrick. My friends who had read it enjoyed it and recommended it to the rest of us to read. Anything with that level of praise winds up on my list. I saw that the author had also written a memoir and it sounded compelling enough to make it into my shopping cart as well.

“A Reliable Wife” was a good read, though I must confess I was a little confused at each character’s real motives and sudden 180s. I like period pieces, which this book is, and the details about architecture, flora and location is very rich and detailed. The poisoning scenes were pretty horrible, but I suppose that is the nature of slow death.

I will circulate the book on to people at work who love to read and enjoy listening to their opinion of the book once they’ve finished. I think reading should be shared and I love the community aspect of passing books around.

Goolrick’s memoir “The End of the World As We Know It, Scenes from a Life” struck my interest because of the secret that was hinted at in the description:

In the Goolrick home there was a law: Never talk about the family in the outside world, never reveal the slightest crack in the facade. To all appearances, they lived an almost idyllic life. Two respected, charming parents everyone loved. Three bright, smiling children. A lovely home on a quiet street nestled in a small college town. But behind the facade this family had created lurked secrets so dark, so painful for one little boy, that his life would never be the same.

With devastating honesty and razor-sharp wit, Goolrick looks back at this seemingly serene time and at the parents who gave him life and then robbed him of it, who created his world and then destroyed it.

I loved the beginning of this book. The descriptions and time capsule view of the author’s childhood was so detailed, it was like watching a movie. I understood the façade, but also understood that there were cracks. I was sure that I would be passing this book on as well….

….and then he began to self destruct in such a gruesome, graphic way, that I started to waiver in my opinion.

The horrible secret that ruined him is revealed as is promised. All the ugliness of the event and the resulting backlash are laid out in dreadful detail. It was hard to read.

I think Goolrick’s story is an important one and much more refined than “Running with Scissors” (which I detested) or “The Ice Storm”. What was tragic about all three of these books is the willingness of the adults to sacrifice their relationships with their children because of their social lives/standing and personal problems.

Robert Goolrick is a wonderful writer and hopefully he finds it within himself to tell more stories. I’ll probably pass the memoir on to my Goddess girlfriends to read for themselves. I look forward to listening to their thoughts about it.


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