Bettyville When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris Missouri he finds himself an unlikely caretaker and near lethal cook in a head on collision with his aging mother Betty a woman of wi

  • Title: Bettyville
  • Author: George Hodgman
  • ISBN: 9780525427209
  • Page: 222
  • Format: Hardcover
  • When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself an unlikely caretaker and near lethal cook in a head on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will Will George lure her into assisted living When hell freezes over He can t bring himself to force her from the home both treasure the place where his father s voiWhen George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself an unlikely caretaker and near lethal cook in a head on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will Will George lure her into assisted living When hell freezes over He can t bring himself to force her from the home both treasure the place where his father s voice lingers, the scene of shared jokes, skirmishes, and, behind the dusty antiques, a rarely acknowledged conflict Betty, who speaks her mind but cannot quite reveal her heart, has never really accepted the fact that her son is gay.As these two unforgettable characters try to bring their different worlds together, Hodgman reveals the challenges of Betty s life and his own struggle for self respect, moving readers from their small town crumbling but still colorful to the star studded corridors of Vanity Fair Evocative of The End of Your Life Book Club and The Tender Bar, Hodgman s New York Times bestselling debut is both an indelible portrait of a family and an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son s return.

    240 Comment

    • Michelle Tessler says:

      I read BETTYVILLE by George Hodgman in a weekend, ignoring my family to finish it, basically in a day. The memoir is riveting, beautiful, brave, honest, compelling, heart breaking, heart opening, funny and true. It is about family, where we come from, how we don't let those closest to us know us for fear of hurting them or being hurt. It is about secrets and silences and words. Also about the passage of time, and how places and people change with age, and how meaningful it can be to take a brief [...]

    • Richard Kramer says:

      It goes like this, again and again, in endless towns. There’s a boy, somewhere, a somewhere that’s never New York. He doesn’t know he is not unusual, because there’s no one to tell him; he won’t find that out, and may never come to fully believe it, until he’s left one of those endless towns and come to New York, where he will ask the city to erase who he was and replace it with a portrait of who he would like to be. He’ll master subways, and menus, attain the knowingness he yearne [...]

    • Diane says:

      This memoir was all over the place. I picked it up because I was interested in the story of a son caring for his elderly mother with dementia, but the author takes a lot of detours. There are chapters on the colorful residents in small-town Missouri; there are sections on George's publishing career and his experiences as a gay man; there are some awkward and frustrating stories from his childhood; and there are memories of his parents and grandmother. The author has had an interesting life, but [...]

    • Dianne says:

      Funny and touching memoir about the relationship between a mother and son. The mother, Betty, is a feisty old bird of ninety, who is in failing health in Missouri. Her son, George, is a book editor in New York City who has just lost his job. He comes home, ostensibly for a few weeks or months, to help care for his widowed mother while a neighbor who watches out for Betty recovers from surgery. George thinks Betty, who in the early stages of dementia, should be in an assisted-living facility. Bet [...]

    • Hank Stuever says:

      Beautifully assembled and tenderly sad memoir that focuses in on George's relationship with his ailing mother, his late father and the world he came from (small-town Missouri) in relation to the world he inhabited as an urban adult who works in the high-stress fields of magazine and book publishing in New York. I happen to know George fairly well -- he edited my books, which is in a way about as well as two people can get to know one another. I can't say we came out of the experience unscathed. [...]

    • John says:

      I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that a memoir by a former editor should be so well written, but this one has exceptional pacing. We start with the caregiving aspect, as expected, and then move on to Betty's background, the author's own story, and then back to the two of them as a family unit (ok, three, dog people get what's called a lagniappe here). Now that I've re-hashed the plot as much as I care to, where to begin?Being roughly the same age as George, I came from the northeast, an area t [...]

    • Wheeler says:

      Despite the praise, Bettyville by George Hodgman is not particularly illuminating, it does not have a gratifying end and it is mostly a compendium of the same thoughts and scenes, slightly tweaked, repeated ad nauseum. While Bettyville certainly had the potential to be poignant and illuminating, “gorgeous” as one author describes it on the back blurb, it squanders all of this potential by relentlessly repeating the same pointless scenes. Once is fine, five times is inane. Most of the book i [...]

    • Clif Hostetler says:

      This book's author, George Hodgman, is facing a problem that will be faced, or already has been faced, by many members of the boomer generation. This is a memoir framed by Hodgman's move from his New York City life to return to his boyhood home in rural Paris, Missouri in order to assist his 92-year-old mother who has been living alone and is entering midstage dementia. Hodgman's return in someways is conveniently timed because he is free of marriage obligations since he is single, and he also h [...]

    • Lana Pepper says:

      As a Missourian, the first sentence of Bettyville, which lists Missouri towns with borrowed and strange names was what sucked me in, but it was the universality of the writing that held me for the next 274 pages. The book is about being respected and being accepted. It is also about searching for love, finding love and then the hardest part - accepting love. Hodgman reveals himself with an Elia Kazan candid-revelatory style. By the end of the book, you will feel that you know him better than you [...]

    • Alysia Abbott says:

      Bettyville is an honest and loving portrait of a disappearing world—an America of weekly bridge games and hymns played on the organs of small town churches, of proud rose gardens and desserts delivered to neighbors in need. It’s a world exemplified by a tall, stoic mother named Betty and the witty gay son she didn’t always understand yet who loves her so fully it breaks your heart. A beautiful story.

    • Sue says:

      Well, after reading almost 1/3 of this book, I've decided we are just not a good fit. I find myself getting frustrated with it each time I read. Some of it appeals so much and then Hodgman loses me entirely with his abrupt shifts of time and place. The story is about his mother but equally about himself, his awareness early on that he was gay and therefore different within his small community. While both stories are interesting, the way they are brought together just don't work for me. So I have [...]

    • Joy says:

      Bettyville is a wonderful, moving, sad and funny memoir about a man who goes home to take care of his ailing 90 year old mother. She lives in his hometown called Paris, Missouri (George had been living in New York). Betty has dementia, and needs to move to an assisted living facility but she doesn't want to leave her home so George moves back to care for her. This is a very special book and the reader will want to know what happens to Betty. George reflects back on his youth and learns a lot abo [...]

    • Laura McNeal says:

      Confession: I bought this for the cover, which I love. I didn't know anything about the author and hadn't read the description all that carefully before I clicked "buy." Now I want it to be the Community Read for every state in the country, including Utah, where I lived for many years, and I want you to read it, and I want to go to a reading by George Hodgman and attempt to express my admiration for him, which I will completely botch, and I'd like him to write a daily column about Paris, Missour [...]

    • Diane Yannick says:

      Endearing portrait of an imperfect love between an aging mother and her adult son. George sees that his ninety year old mother needs his help, he leaves NYC (fortunately he had just lost his writing job and could do freelance) and moves back home to Paris, Missouri. This was not the time to harbor bad feelings about his parents' refusal to accept him as a gay man; it was a time to recognize their shared histories and forgive each other. This process was navigated with humor, misunderstandings, a [...]

    • (Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw says:

      I've been to "Bettyville", as has my brother, but we knew it as "Dorothyville." Our mother Dorothy had TIA dementia for the last few years of her life. She lived to be 94. So I thought I knew where this book was headed. I could really relate to the agonies of Hodgman's role as caretaker to his mother Betty. But at times, the book felt very jumbled and repetitive for me (hey, maybe that is appropriate given the subject of dementia). Initially I loved the book and would have thought it was headed [...]

    • Kimberly says:

      I couldn't finish this book. I feel like the book was all over the place. I would think the writer was bringing up a subject to tell more about it but the subject would end as soon as it began. The author is funny and the book did bring tears to my eyes once but I got almost to half and couldn't move on for there.

    • Toni says:

      Almost a 4.5 for me. I understand completely why George was unable to tell his parents about the "real him" considering their traditional or conservative upbringing, along with living in rural Missouri. All that combined with the timeframe. It just wasn't done. I also understand the shutting down of one's emotions, for various reasons. You build your wall around yourself and hope you don't get hurt; again. My parents died five years apart when I was a young teen, along with some other not great [...]

    • Judith says:

      George grows up in Paris, Missouri and moves to Manhattan after graduation from college where he becomes a serious writer at increasingly more glamorous magazines until one day the merry go round ride ends and he returns to Missouri to care for his aged (90-year old) mother. George is the kind of son any mother would dream of: he is so caring, sensitive, compassionate, witty, clever, helpful, so so funny, and gay. Therein lies the rub. Poor George. He grew up in a small town in the middle of Ame [...]

    • Alex George says:

      Just finished reading this for the second time - my local library has chosen BETTYVILLE as this year's One Read title and I am leading a discussion about it tomorrow. I love this book so much - it's so full of heart and so damn smart and funny.

    • Debby says:

      George Hodgman heads from Manhattan for a quick trip to his hometown of Paris, Missouri, to celebrate his Moher's 90th birthday. Little do both of them know this visit will be more than they bargained for in so many ways. Betty Hodgman has no intention of going into an assisted living facility despite the fact she has Alzheimer's and cannot adequately care for herself any longer. George, for many reasons, isn't really able to care for himself, let alone being the care-giver for his Mother. Facin [...]

    • Alia says:

      Bettyville is the real thing. It's the perfect memoir---the sort of book you want to press into people's hands and say, "I know you'll love this," and if they are a writer, "Here is how you write a book."I know George Hodgman from working in publishing together. That's not why I'm recommending this one. Because of my job, lots of books come across my desk, and I have stacks of them I haven't finished. It's a rare pleasure to come across a book this good. One of the great things about Bettyville [...]

    • Theodore McCombs says:

      Hodgman's memoir is a subtle, beautiful, sly book that leverages its apparently simple, Oscar-season premise--Midwest outcast comes home to care for his aging, colorful mother--into much, much more. It's a book of bewilderments: willful, skittish characters trying to be strong for (or to?) each other in a world they have never mastered, even as that world's familiar elements drop away. Its narrator, George, is a sharp, vigilant, hapless son pummeled into shame by the homophobia he grew up with, [...]

    • Denise says:

      Full disclosure: I was chosen a First Reads winner, and received an ARC of Bettyville by George Hodgman in the mail. That in no way influenced the review that follows. Bettyville is a memoir written with love by a man who returns home to care for his aging mother. George Hodgman captures life as it was in small-town Missouri, where he grew up and where people were kind to him in an era when folks didn't yet understand or accept what it was to be a gay man. Although he also eventually lived in Ne [...]

    • Kate says:

      I so wanted to love this book, but it fell short for me. George Hodgman who has worked in publishing has gone home to Paris, Missouri to take care of his 90 year old mother. Paris is a small town, surrounded by other small towns and George, a gay man never felt like he belonged there. Going home, he spends much of his time trying to connect in a deeper way with his mother who has always been very self contained. She is not demonstrative, but vey strong willed and inflexible. She was not a gushy, [...]

    • Janeene says:

      Need to say this will be a biased review. I grew up in Paris so for me this is a look back, a revisit of what my hometown used to be. There could be a tendency to want to read this book quickly. It's well written and well edited; engaging and funny, sad and real. Instead, I chose to read slowly, picking up all the nuances of humor, the descriptions, the wording, the sadness, the regrets. I'm sure I'll go back and read it again, as there were many sentences/paragraphs that I wanted to underline. [...]

    • Sterlingcindysu says:

      3.5 rounded down. This is a memoir, and to be honest, I think it's more a memoir of George, the son vs. Betty the mother. At one point he says his editor says his written work is too "internal" and it sure is. All the action in the story pretty much takes place between his ears, when he's reminiscing, or wondering what Betty is remembering. If this were fiction, it would be amazing how he got into his characters' head. To me, the saddest part is that being gay and in his 20's during the AIDS mas [...]

    • Lorrie says:

      I received this book free from Giveaway. Thank you Viking/Penguin Books.This book was excellent! What an honest, emotional, non-fictional read. George, the author, returns to Paris, Missouri, to care for his aging mother, Betty. The book is very humorous for the first half. George's humor sucks the reader right in. I laughed out loud several times. Halfway through the book, the tone becomes more serious and revealing. George, who deflates introspection through the use of humor, finally gets to [...]

    • Hanje Richards says:

      Interesting memoir of George Hodgman and his mother Betty. Quite brilliant how George is able to tell his own story while he tells the story of the months he spends with his mother Betty at the end of her life. Hodgman is a good writer, knows how to use repetition to good effect, knows how to tease the reader and then pull away, later returning to tease again. George is a man who has trouble accepting his own homosexuality. George is a man who struggles with addiction. George is a man who loves [...]

    • Jami Hunt-Williams says:

      Master WordsmithThis book, this story, this writer restore my faith in the art of writing. This is gut-wrenching for the awkward misfit in our past and heart-wrenching for the caregivers most of us will become in the future. It is raw and harsh and beautiful and so funny I laughed so loud I woke up my husband who no longer lets me read in bed Do yourself a huge favor: read this book and welcome true writing back into your life

    • Lynne says:

      A memoir about a gay man and his struggles in life. He faces denial, bigotry and discrimination, addiction and AIDS. Finally he returns to his small hometown to care for his ailing mom. The writing and story are both good, I listened to this and the reader was flat and disappointing.

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