Emory Easton’s Mother Can You Hear Me Now? is a chronological celebration of life. Bittersweet and tender moments, unfathomable love, and traumatic loss; Easton brings us along on her recollection of all the heart-wrenching experiences life has offered and continues to offer her. She burrows into the depths of wanting to be loved and accepted and what we all conjure up in order to fill the voids that people can inevitably leave us with.

The text boils through years of physical and emotional abuse that is hard to attend to and hard to apprehend actually getting through. The events throughout the book are indeed medicinal in their morale but wish to be accompanied by that sweet spoonful of sugar to make it all go down easily. Easton’s resiliency and capacity to love and be loved after a life of enduring subjection and guttural hardships is an ode to persons, and especially women, everywhere. The text holds so much weight but is illustrated in such a forgiving and eccentric light. The author reminisces on the network that composed her younger years working as an EMT, using comical relief to curb the disheartening reality that often accompanies encounters of existential dreads such as death:

“We resorted to dark humor with each other. We’d go to the local twenty-four-hour restaurant and talk and laugh to drive away the ghosts that robbed us of ‘normal emotions’ and ate into our comfortable lives. We put on the masks that carries us through our ‘regular lives,’ but the demons still haunted us in our quiet moments” 

The nuances we notice as children and young adults often bloom into complexes and cautions and, oftentimes, compassion for others later on in a lifetime. Divorce, alcoholism, abuse, mental illness, grief; they all declare themselves quietly (and sometimes loudly), oozing into the small openings we still carry in our innately soft hearts, waiting to harden us through any cavity they can permeate. Easton reminds us that we grow and we pick ourselves back up, again and again, to keep on keeping on despite all encumbrances our being has suffered. She reminds us that there will be so many times in our lives where we remember the bad times but think to ourselves, “this was all worth it in the end.”