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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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Morris, Bob: Assisted Loving

  Amazon  

5 stars

Bob Morris's father (not the guy on the book's cover!) is pushing eighty when Assisted Loving opens. He's a youthful eighty, though, and newly widowed, a retired traffic judge, so he's a hot commodity among senior singles. Not one to mourn over-much, he is ready only months after his wife of fifty-plus years died (in 2002) to start the search for a new mate. He enlists his son to help him, and the younger Morris chronicles his fathers re-emergence on the dating scenes of Palm Beach and New York. That's the plot of the book, but the dates merely serve as the framework onto which Morris packs a meatier story about his relationship with his father and about growing up. At book's end, Joe Morris remains the man he was at the beginning: happy-go-lucky, exasperating, utterly devoted to his son. It's Bob Morris who emerges from the experience a changed (to a degree) man.

It's difficult to like Bob Morris for the first third of his book. His father may be legitimately annoying--most parents are--but at forty-four the younger Morris still acts like a teenager around him: pouting and saying just the wrong thing and not having much patience for the eccentricities of an old man. Worse, Morris is a superficial, elitist jerk. He's embarrassed by his old neighborhood, turns up his nose at his father's kitsch. He's irritated that visits with his father take him away from his usual party-hopping. Morris's mother had been very ill for years before her death. Morris was disappointed during that period because she lost interest in her appearance. He was ashamed to be seen with a dying woman who wasn't fashionable: "It was hard, watching her in her hopelessness. It was even harder seeing her thin, bruised arms and neck because she dressed in the most unflattering T-shirts." He dragged her out to Macy's to buy her new clothes--blouses, and hats to cover her thinning hair. He claims it made her happy, but it sure sounds like the new wardrobe was for him more than her.

Morris may be a jerk, but he's also self-aware. He is, after all, drawing attention to his bad behavior and, largely, condemning it. In the course of hanging out with his father during the dating period, the younger Morris becomes a better man--still, it seems, someone whose instinct is to be impressed by the superficial, but a better man. It is impressive that Morris is able to alienate the reader at the beginning of his book yet still bring us around by the end so that he seems likable. Also impressive is the portrait Morris paints of his father. The initial image we get of Joe Morris is a negative one, a man as seen through the eyes of a son who has little sympathy for him and is still harboring adolescent resentments. But as the book progresses we are given more insight into the older Morris, who turns out to be more supportive than many parents are and wiser than we might at first have supposed. It's a powerful portrait. And Assisted Loving is a well-written, funny, and surprisingly affecting book.

Comments

1.

You might want to listen to Terry Gross's interview with Morris; I found him mostly endearing (I didn't read the book): http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90882239

2.

Thanks, Karen! I'll listen to it.

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