Never Better: All Things Considered
by Sally A. Connolly

Sally A. Connolly, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9772653-2-9.
Reviewed by Janet Caplan
Posted on 04/09/2008

Nonfiction: Memoir

Never Better: All Things Considered is a collection of thoughts, opinions and remembrances put together by Sally Connolly during the period after her husband's death, a period she refers to as her "transition from wife to widow to single senior."

The randomness of the chapters left me with the sense that I was reading Connolly's journal or diary. Early on she writes about the profound loss of her husband and in fact a couple of the chapters are written in the form of letters to Gene. As time goes by the "entries" move more to family matters, including children and grandchildren. She writes of her family life with love, warmth and humor and expresses strong feelings about a number of other topics, such as literacy, achieving success in life, and local political matters.

As a practicing Catholic, Connolly's writing is affected by her religious ideals. She was brought up with a strong faith, attended Catholic schools and universities and was married to a man who at one time in his life was a Marist Brother. Her faith is woven throughout and is clearly seen in some of her more strongly-felt entries. One example: the responsibility of the school to provide not only "a physically safe environment" but one in which parents can expect "the same attention paid to their children's moral development" as well. In her opinion, schools at all levels should act "in loco parentis," or in place of the parent. Connolly brings into question the provision of co-ed dorms on college campuses. I would have liked this book better, however, if the entries regarding local politics had not been included. The book seemed initially geared to Connolly's transition through widowhood to senior independence and to her family life. Perhaps the services of an editor might have helped sort some of this out.

Sally A. Connolly is a retired school counselor and teacher and the author of A Boy From Lawrence: The Collected Writings of Eugene F. Connolly.

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