Mother's: A novel of hoarding, friending and mischief.
Lunie is a neatnick, who has rebelled against her mother’s hoarding. Mother is recently deceased through a bizarre accident involving fruitcake. Lunie, temporarily laid off from her job at the Mosby Gap Building Department due to the economic downturn, hopes to spend her unexpected free time writing a novel in thirty days as part of a national contest. However, she finds she must also cope with emptying Mother’s house and with her brother, Dayton, and his friends (whom he met on Facebook), who invade her peaceful life and mess up her home. Dayton makes her a gift of a mechanical moose (with amazing properties, including a secret compartment) that becomes stuck in her front door. In despair, Lunie tries to get help online through Dr. Manngo, an Oz-like counselor, whose primary comforting suggestion is to “deal” with whatever issue she “presents.”
As the clock ticks for the writing contest, Lunie tries to focus on completing her novel, but her characters have minds of their own. (Their steamy storyline is also engaging.) Lunie’s personal problems increase with her involvement with the outrageous and naughty Coreen Pomphrey, a former soap opera star who is starting a new reality cooking show.
Mother’s house has The Smell; her refrigerator has The Taste. It holds memories of not-well-cared-for children as the house filled up with Mother’s stuff. Now it’s also a nighttime haven for locals, including Agnes, an efficient cleaning person who has her own surprises for her clientele. Lunie’s only bittersweet childhood memory is of a kind classmate named Fink, who thought she had beautiful feet.
Just as stuff builds in a hoarder’s house, Lunie’s life spins out of control. She needs to get a grip or be rescued.
"I just finished reading Mother's, and really enjoyed the book. And I loved the--may I call it--surprise ending where Lunie got to live out the narrative she had for her character, Sue! I had no idea how the book was going to end. I am a big fan of Anne Tyler, and the way you develop your quirky/loveable/irksome characters, and your prose style, remind me a lot of [her]."
Write on, Linda Salisbury!
-- George Bashian
An excerpt from Mother’s: Lunie’s cheerful, hoarding, and irresponsible brother plans to rinse, then bring a carpet he found inside her house where he has been told he can’t stay.
“Dayton, are you not hearing anything I’ve been saying? . . . Take the rug away. Get rid of the moose. You’re driving me crazy.” This time she did stamp her foot.
Dayton unfurled the rest of the carpet, kicking off a mound of something that resembled congealed, partially digested kibble.
“Dayton, I can tell you’re not listening.”
“I’m not listening, Lunie.”
“Listen to me.”
“I’m not going to listen. I am a calm person.”
“I’m not listening. You are not calm. You sound uncalm. Very uncalm.”
Lunie picked up the bucket of soapy water he had just filled and hurled it. Dayton stepped aside and the suds spilled on the carpet.
“Thanks for your help, Lunie. And I really mean it.”
The book is filled with comic moments, but the reality of the family relationships and issues prompts discussion among readers and their book groups.
“Just about everyone knows a hoarder or ‘accumulator,’” says author Linda Salisbury, who readily admits she herself has a lifelong issue dealing with books and paper. “But even though I’m not a hoarder, I understand the issues.” She adds that many people have felt like their privacy has been invaded by an unwanted guest, family member or co-worker. That’s where Dayton and Rhoda, whom he “friended” on Facebook come in.
"I found it thoroughly enjoyable and, indeed, found it virtually impossible to put down. And this from a guy who doesn't consider this his genre! Salisbury's writing is uncomplicated and direct, yet at the same time it is deft, literate, and mature. The flow is excellent and carries the reader relentlessly and smoothly forward. It is not just light or comic but has serious adult issues. I see themes of power(lessness), alienation, communication, loyalty, nothing-is-all-anything, rigidity/flexibility, religion (Dr. Manngo as god/church), to mention a few."
Dan Russo, clinical psychologist
"A hilariously insightful look into the mind of the hoarders in our families . . . and those about to become one! The author kept me laughing and smiling from page one and I'm thankful that my family isn't quite as bad as Lunie's!"