Carole O'Malley Gaunt
University of Massachusetts Press
In 1959, thirteen years old Carole O'Malley’s father took her seven brothers with him to take care of “family” business, but left her behind with their ailing mom, a cancer victim. However, before leaving he told Carole that if the priest arrives before they are back, she is to let him into their home. She does as ordered, only to learn that the priest has come to give her dying mother her last rites. Family business meant alcohol and though no one said anything Carole knew first hand her dad was a nasty drunk and was even uglier when he would awaken with a hangover. He remarried, but ignored that his new wife was abusive to his stepchildren until he died from alcohol abuse.
This gripping memoir by playwright Carole O'Malley Gaunt is not an easy read though extremely well written as the author spent her childhood as a mother to her ailing mother, her brothers, and her father. No reader will remain dry eyed with this sensitive account of growing up as the designated mom.