Review published on October 3, 2017.
Back in 2008, Ruth Fitzmaurice’s husband Simon was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. His career was just starting to lift and they had three small children, so Ruth put her writing ambitions on the back burner to care for him and them. Events took a more dramatic turn when he was given four years to live and then they had had twins. Even though Simon can only communicate using his eyes and technology, he still managed to direct My Name is Emily. Ruth regularly heads to a cove in Greystones, Co. Wicklow with two close friends, Michelle and Aifric, to swim in the cold seas. She calls this tribe ‘The Tragic Wives’ Swimming Club’ and it gives her a necessary respite from her other tribe of children and carers for Simon.
Even in the most tragic of circumstances, she can see hope, even though she has periods of time where she feels raw and vulnerable. Ruth has a roller coaster of emotions living with Simon and his motor neurone disease. It is tough, but not as tough as the moments when she has to answer the children’s questions as what is happening with Dad, especially when she doesn’t have the answers. The sea swimming becomes those moments when she can be herself and relax with her friends. Her beautiful, sparse prose gets to the very essence of what is happening with the various tribes. It is a moving book too, with several poignant moments. She is one tough lady.
Paul Cheney 3/3
I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice
Chatto & Windus 9781784741464 hbk Jul 2017
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