Stanhope, Doug. Digging Up Mother: a Love Story. Da Capo Press, 2016.
Reason read: Do you ever feel like your life is too uptight or that you don’t laugh enough at stupid stuff? I was definitely feeling too severe and too closed minded. So when a friend practically threw Digging Up Mother on my desk, I thought to myself “Self! What the hell? Read the damn book.” Definitely not on the Lust Challenge List. Definitely not. This is my 2023 proverbial show-the-panties, thumb-the-nose, and stick-out-the-tongue moment. Deal with it.
How do you navigate the unchartered waters of assisted suicide when it is your own mother who wants to die? Stanhope compares this “adventure” of killing his mother to planning a wedding: at least you know where to start. First, take mother to your house. Second, find a boatload of alcohol…
But Digging Up Mother isn’t all about Dear Mommy Dearest. Think of it as a fast-paced memoir of how Stanhope got his start in life. But. But! But, also think of it as a love story. His mother was his biggest fan, and for many years, his best friend. She supported him through every moment of his life, whether he wanted that support or not. I think I can safely call Digging Up Mother crude and caring and, dare I say? beautiful.
P.S. I hope Bingo is well.
A line I liked, “Everything horrible in life was money in the bank on stage” (p 151). Here’s one more, “Anyone who says that suicide is never the answer hasn’t heard all of the questions” (p 179).
Author fact: Stanhope is from Worcester, MA. Right down the road from me.
Book trivia: Johnny Depp wrote the foreword. Yes, that Johnny Depp. Are you surprised?
Setlist: The Chamber Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today”, Cheap Trick, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, Tom Jones’s “Delilah”, Pink Floyd’s “Mother”, “In the Flesh”, and “Nobody Home”, Suspicious Minds”, Cop Killer by Ice T., P. Diddy, Limp Bizkit, Yakety Sax”, and “You’re Too Good To Be True”. True story. When I was in grade school a friend of mine and I choreographed a dance routine to that last song. I still remember some of the moves.