Imagine this. A dumpy elderly widow, Mrs. Moskowitz, who has trouble remembering everyday needs heads out of her apartment for a little grocery shopping. A neurotic young woman, Natalie, obsessing with guilt about how she didn't attend to her mother before her mother's death hurries to work. They collide and a fairy tale is born. A happy fairy tale. Other characters include an insurance adjuster and a painter or two. Barbara Pokras, a film editor in another life, has written a charming, totally unbelievable tale with hilarious yet realistic dialog both out loud and within the thought process. The women by themselves could be our neighbors. It is the situations which are outlandish. A delightful read.
Fran Pokras Yariv, sister of Barbara Pokras, creates a more serious character, Ofelia, in The Caregiver. If I'm ever in a situation which calls for a caregiver, I want Ofelia. She is compassionate, thoughtful and efficient in her work as a private caregiver in the Sunset Hills Retirement Community. She minces no words in her journal and her conversations with the staff about the management treatment of the guests. She treats her charge, Mrs. Breur with dignity and care. Her dealings with the daughter- in- charge is more like walking on eggs.
In this longer novella, we meet several of the other inhabitants of Sunset Hills, who strive to remain interesting individuals while skirting numerous rules and regulations. As in her sister's novella, conversations are natural and often hilarious. It takes very little time for the reader to join the retiree/staff team against the management team. I know that independent living facilities can and often are outstanding in their care of their residents, but not in this situation.
Both authors shine in their depiction of aging human beings as fighters in the "not dead yet" crusade. Hurrah for fiction which illustrates some positive aspects of aging.
Barbara Pokras is an Emmy award-winning film editor. She is a member of American Cinema Editors, Inc. and of the Motion Pictures Editors Guild. She taught in the Cinema Department of the University of Southern California. She lives in Upstate NY where she writes for the Woodstock Film Fesitval and grows organic vegetables.
Fran Pokras Yariv was awarded a Writers Guild of America, East Foundation Fellowship in screenwriting and is a member of the Authors Guild and more. Yariv is also the author of two screenplays and five novels, including Last Exit and Safe Haven. She lives in Pasadena CA.
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