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“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
Paperback, 9780986000799, 240 pp.