George K. Ilsley explores his complex relationship with his aging father in this candid memoir full of sharp emotion and disarming humor. George’s father is ninety-one years old, a widower, and fiercely independent; an avid gardener, he’s sweet and more than a little eccentric. But he’s also a hoarder who makes embarrassing comments and invitations to women, and he has made no plans whatsoever for what is inevitably coming over the horizon.
Decades after George has moved four time zones away, he begins to make regular trips home to help care for his cranky and uncooperative father, and to sift through the hoarded fragments of his father’s life. In doing so, George is forced to confront some uncomfortable family secrets and ugly personal truths, only to discover that the inexorable power of life’s journey pulls everyone along in its wake.
The Home Stretch is a beguiling, moving book about aging parents who do not “go gently,” and their adult children who must reckon with their own past before helping to guide them on their way.