Though I usually WRITE about my memoirs on this blog, I'm taking this opportunity to review a friend's book. She reviewed Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School on her blog so I'm returning the favour.
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver is a book of mostly free verse poetry. It is divided up into four sections. The first part relates the struggles she faced when her blind husband, Bill, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his left arm and leg. It also impaired his speech. Instead of putting him in a palliative care institution, she lovingly cared for him at home after he underwent therapy at a nursing facility. Her heart-warming, and often humorous, poetry shows how she and her husband supported each other through this misfortune.
In the second and third sections, Taylor included poems inspired by her childhood as well as from other experiences. Many of those tell of a childhood filled with love and warmth, though some of her adventures were rather wild.
The poems in the last section relate her fifteen years as a registered music therapist in a nursing home before she married Bill. Taylor met some interesting and eccentric characters during those days. She also empathised through her poetry with seniors who had to have toileting and other everyday necessities performed by staff.
The poems Taylor included in this book revel in the simple pleasures of the mundane. From swimming in a creek to the joys of Dr. Pepper, the minutiae of life is examined through her writing.
But this is more than a mere collection of random impressions. The love that the Taylors share and the devotion each feels for the other shines with crystal clarity through the first section. Likewise, the author's enthusiasm for life shows through the images she paints with her poems.
How to Build a Better Mousetrap is available from Abbie Johnson Taylor's website. You can read a review of Deliverance from Jericho at Abbie's page as well.