“I remembered what my friend China wrote in her punk parenting zine when we were young moms. ‘I want to be the female Bukowski, the female Burroughs, but instead I’m just the female.’ In that elevator right then, I felt like such the female—the caregiver.” –Ariel Gore, The End of Eve

In this illuminating new release by Ariel Gore, prolific writer and editor of Hip Mama Magazine, the entire concept of caretaking between female relations is brought to the forefront. Chronicling her years spent caregiving for her mother, Eve, as she declined with stage IV lung cancer, Gore manages to hit on all cylinders of the complex ambivalence of love and relationships. In this memoir, the reader obtains access to a nontraditional narrative of caretaking: Gore takes on the task of seeing her mother through her dying days, while also confronting cycles of abuse and manipulation in their relationship.

The binary of caretaker/ill is a deeply complicated relationship to explore. Faced with the difficult terrain of abbreviated timelines, mortality, and basic human need, the caretaker is often placed in a position of power over one fallen sick. Made even more complex by the queerness and femaleness of the author, the expectations and predicted failures of Ariel as caretaker are highlighted throughout the entire book. This dichotomy proves particularly interesting in the case of Eve and Ariel, wherein Eve continuously takes the reign and control out of the hands of her caretaker. Despite the tropes of disempowerment and overcoming lifelong struggles with her mother (or perhaps because of them), Gore manages to write a book that encapsulates the very ambivalence of grief: humor, irreverence, darkness, bravery, wit, jealousy, anger, and joy.

“I’ve never been a daily newspaper reporter, but I’m a journalist.” Gore writes, “[…]and when the wildfire changes direction, threatening a town or when those first shorts explode and people with any sense grab their children and their poodles and hurry to evacuate—that’s when the journalists come in—rushing toward the storm or the crime scene, not because we’re adrenaline junkies, but because we know that something important and human is about to happen. Something true and real even if it’s tragic. Something that might require a witness.” A book that embodies the very journalistic truth of witness, The End of Eve captures a stunningly human journey that ends in both death and rebirth.




The End of Eve
By Ariel Gore
Hawthorne Books
Paperback, 9780986000799, 240 pp.
March 2014

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2 Responses to “‘The End of Eve’ by Ariel Gore”

  1. […] The End of Eve by Ariel Gore was reviewed at Lambda Literary. […]

  2. […] Yo Ariel Gore is one of my writing mentors. I’m just gonna put that out there. Like I’m obsessed with everything she writes (stop what you’re doing and read Atlas of the Human Heart) and so obvs I jumped at the chance to read The End of Eve before it officially came out. Straight up it’s a memoir about the time in Ariel’s life when her mom, Eve, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and invaded Ariel’s life (Ariel at the time was living with her partner and their son). Eve is one of the most complicated women I’ve ever read about and Ariel’s relationship with her mother is also unlike anything I’ve read. The crazy thing is that Ariel is able to write about all of this with a wicked and dark sense of humor that keeps a novel about someone’s last days from being unbearable. Literally, I read it in one full night so y’all should read it too. Also, when’s the last time you read a book that had a queer family in it and the queer-ness wasn’t the most OMG part of the novel? Want more? Read what LAMBDA Literary had to say about The End of Eve. […]

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