On a recent trip to the Sunshine Coast, Miss M and I spent the morning wandering around the Eumundi Markets. On the opposite side of the road to the markets I spotted a bookshop and decided to wander across and check it out. Seated at a table on the footpath was the author of this book Pamela (P J) Parker. Straight away the title and the cover photo caught my eye and when I turned it over and read the synopsis I knew I wanted to read it.
And so begins an extraordinary memoir by outstanding new talent P J Parker. Spanning three generations , The Long Goodbye takes us deep into the lives of an Australian family as they survive record-breaking floods, outlast epic droughts and face the unforgiving realities of life on the land.
This remarkable true story of grit and resilience depicts a family at their zenith, set against the spectacular backdrop of rural Queensland where life and death are never far apart.
Written with astounding lyricism, warmth and humour, The Long Goodbye is a deeply moving memoir about the unbreakable bonds of marriage, love and family. And it poses the most heartbreaking moral dilemma of all: when a loved one is suffering, is euthanasia the answer?
When I first started reading this book I thought it was just going to be about a rural farming family and the harshness that the Australian bush can deliver to those who choose that life. Little did I know that it would tug at my heartstrings like it did.
Author Pamela Parker skilfully weaves this tale of her family switching with ease from the 1940’s to the 1960’s and then to 2012. Although there is an age gap between myself and her, I feel her life mirrors mine in someways. Both of us are of a rural background and both have gone through the heartbreak of watching our mothers die before our eyes from the cruel disease that is Alzheimers.
The difference is my mother still lingers in what I call a half-life. What happens to Pamela’s mother is both heart-breaking and thought-provoking.
In the end though, the book offers no solution to the much debated topic of euthanasia.
I would highly recommend reading this book if you love stories of the Aussie bush with some ‘food for thought’ thrown in.