Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
Robbie has been reading Fred’s Funeral by Sandy Day
Fred has just died in his small room in a hospital for the mentally ill. Fred finds himself a ghost, stuck between this life and the next and forced to watch his prissy sister-in-law, Viola, arrange his funeral. Fred seems tied to Viola and his brother, Thomas, and watches on, silent and powerless, as his life is rehashed by Viola to his relatives after the funeral. Viola’s version of the events of his life are unfavourable and cause Fred to think back to recollections of these same events.
Fred went off, as a young man, to fight in World War 1 and came back damaged and unable to manage to do the usual things in life such as hold down a job, get married and raise a family. Post his combat years, Fred suffers from huge anxiety and fear and this manifest itself in his binge drinking and uncontrolled behavior and angry outbursts. This condition is commonly known as “shell shock” or post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).
The author gives some interesting insights into the character of Fred as she provides his version of events and describes beautifully his confusion and frustration with himself as he finds himself unable to control his anxiety and the resultant behavior. Fred continuously feels that he is right on the edge of regaining control of his life.
His father shipping him off to a hospital for the insane puts Fred on the sad path to complete misery and metal collapse as he is removed from the home environment that he values and longs for. His brother is not convinced that the mental hospital is the best place for Fred but his doesn’t have the strength of character to stand up to his wife and father.
A well penned story of a man’s struggle to overcome PTSD against the overwhelming prejudice and misunderstanding of the time as well as the horrific treatments imposed on mental patients in hospitals.
I rated this book four stars out of five.
Fred Sadler has just died of old age. It’s 1986, seventy years after he marched off to WWI, and the ghost of Fred Sadler hovers near the ceiling of the nursing home. To Fred’s dismay, the arrangement of his funeral falls to his prudish sister-in-law, Viola. As she dominates the remembrance of Fred, he agonizes over his inability to set the record straight.
Was old Uncle Fred really suffering from shell shock? Why was he locked up most of his life in the Whitby Hospital for the Insane? Could his family not have done more for him?
Fred’s memories of his life as a child, his family’s hotel, the War, and the mental hospital, clash with Viola’s version of events as the family gathers on a rainy October night to pay their respects.
Sandy Day is the author of Poems from the Chatterbox and Fred’s Funeral. She graduated from Glendon College, York University, with a degree in English Literature sometime in the last century. Sandy spends her summers in Jackson’s Point, Ontario on the shore of Lake Simcoe. She winters nearby in Sutton by the Black River. Sandy is a trained facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective’s creative writing workshops. She is a developmental editor and book coach.