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“Losing Me” by Sue Margolis is an introspective and thought-provoking novel about getting on with life when everything seems to be falling apart.
Barbara Stirling is a 58-year-old school teacher in one of London’s lower class areas.
She is everyone’s caregiver – her mother’s, husband’s, children’s and grandchildren’s.
Her octogenarian mother, who has always been cold and distant, has gotten increasingly critical of anything Barbara does. Barbara’s son, Ben, cannot find a job even though he is a college graduate. He lives at home, supported by his parents. Jess, their daughter with two children of her own, runs a struggling organic deli, adding to the family’s financial stress.
Her husband, Frank, films documentaries, travels a great deal and pays little attention to Barbara and her needs. She often feels like a single parent. When Barbara is threatened with losing her job, she begins to have panic attacks, but her husband’s only concern is about the potential loss of income.
Barbara loves her special education teaching position but does eventually lose it as a result of budget cuts, just as she is nearing retirement. In many ways, her job has defined who she is.
Before her job is terminated, however, one of Barbara’s former students, Troy, shows up at his elementary school. He is a smart and sweet boy, but is often disruptive in class and prone to angry outbursts. He is in need of aid, but social services is also undergoing budget cuts. It becomes clear to Barbara that Troy is abused, but he is reluctant to talk about it with her.
Troy clearly needs help, and Barbara has always wanted to do something worthwhile in her life. As Barbara’s best friend assures her, her life is not over. Barbara is determined to do something to help Troy.
Losing Me” is the story of Barbara’s intervention in Troy’s life and how entering his world gives her renewed purpose. The story, told through Barbara’s eyes, is a compelling and touching one. At the same time, the story is often injected with lighthearted humor as Barbara establishes a new identity and direction for her life.