a book review by Nancy Carty Lepri: The Sweet By and By: A NovelThank you! Lorraine, an African-American practical nurse, suppresses traumatic memories of an abusive husband and the crib death of her firstborn by concentrating on creating a semblance of normalcy for her charges at Ridgecrest, a North Carolina nursing home. Rhonda, painfully conscious of her poor white origins, does hair at Ridgecrest once a week, and, spurred on by Margaret, Lorraine and Bernice, gradually gains self-acceptance. After the adventure proves too much for Bernice she passes away in her sleep in the hotel room , the story loses whatever impetus it had. Letters left behind, written by Bernice to her beloved younger son Wade after his death in a car crash, convincingly if anticlimactically document her descent into madness.
The Sweet By and By
The Sweet By and By: A Novel
Sign up for our newsletters! Recently, a music ensemble in which I participate accepted an invitation to perform at a local nursing home during the December holidays. Although many of our members enjoyed the opportunity to connect with its residents over music, others privately confessed a reluctance to do so, saying that nursing homes make them emotionally uncomfortable. At the center of the novel are two of its residents, Margaret Clayton and Bernice Stokes. Margaret is still totally lucid, at times much to the dismay of the home's nurses and administrators, as well as the less-than-perfect families of other residents.
Added by 1 of our members. Life is choosing whom and what you love. Everything else follows. Margaret, droll and whip smart, has a will of iron that never fails her even when her body does, while Bernice, an avid country-music fan, is rarely lucid. Irreverent and brazen at every turn, they make a formidable pair at the home where they live, breaking all the rules and ultimately changing the lives of those around them. Lorraine, their churchgoing, God-questioning nurse, both protects and provokes them while they are under her watchful eye, as her daughter, April, bright and ambitious, determinedly makes her way through medical school.
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Johnson's bittersweet and often humorous hen-lit debut portrays the lives of five very different Southern women: compassionate Lorraine, bossy Margaret, grief-stricken Bernice, ambitious April and brusque Rhonda. At the center of this character-driven novel is Lorraine, a nurse at the nursing home where Margaret and Bernice live.
Set in a nursing home in rural Johnston County, N. She is filled with dignity, wit and the grace she was born with as the daughter of North Carolina tobacco farmers. Though infirm from painful arthritis, she can still spar with others offering intelligent commentary, displaying integrity and independence. Just ask Lorraine, the God-fearing African-American practical nurse who takes care of her. Lorraine, a humble but venerable middle-aged woman believes in treating the elderly—even those suffering from dementia—with complete compassion and respect. She and Margaret exchange many dialogues, keeping them both on their toes and bonding through trust to be forever friends. Lorraine has had a hardscrabble life.