Being Esther by Karmel

Being Esther is Miriam Karmel’s debut novel and a good one. Have you ever wondered what it is like inside the mind of an elderly person?

Being Esther
By Miriam Karmel
Milkweed Editions
March 2013

Meet Esther Lustig, an 85 year old feisty and witty woman struggling with aging. In this touching story about a woman who has outlived her husband and most of her friends, we get a glimpse of what it could be like making sure all of your ducks are in a row prior to passing away. Being Esther takes us through the last weeks of Esther’s life with glimpses of her past scattered throughout. Esther and her friend Lorraine have a system where they call each other every morning to make sure the other one did not pass away in her sleep. Esther and her daughter Ceely have struggled for years with their relationship. Ceely would like to see Esther move into an assisted living facility or “bingoland” or “the land of the living dead” as Esther likes to call it, however, that is not what Esther wants. Esther wants to preserve her independence as long as she can even if she sometimes feels herself slipping. Esther wants nothing more than a road map for growing old.

This is a touching story about ageing and the struggles that go along with getting older. I enjoyed this story. It read very quickly and was fortunately not any longer than it was. There was not a lot of story development, however. We all have or have had elderly people in our lives and it is nice to get a glimpse into what it might be like for them. This is a good quick read.


Nicole L. Wright is an avid reader and lover of books who enjoys sharing reviews with fellow book lovers. She also blogs at Newbie Book Review.