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  • Shawn Nocher

Things Unsaid | Diana Y. Paul

We all assume that as our parents move into their golden years, we will tend to them with love and

compassion. But what if their demands are unreasonable and they are, ultimately, unworthy?

Complicated family dynamics are at the core of this earnest book that examines how we love those

who have been the source of dysfunction and hurt.

Jules, her sister, and her brother are navigating a tricky space in their family. Their aging parents are demanding, cynical, and narcissistic. Unpleasant at best. But a sense of duty and a lopsided familial love forces the well-intentioned Jules to make some tough choices about how much she can or will sacrifice for them. Jules’s parents are accustomed to a certain lifestyle and they’re not willing to let that slip in their later years—no matter the cost to their own children. A series of bad financial decisions are leaving them in a precarious place and they must rely on their children—especially Jules—to pull them out of their financial nosedive. But at what cost to Jules and her own family? 

This beautiful and poignant book examines an adult child’s desire to know unconditional love from two people who are hardly capable of such, the lengths that we will go against our own best interests to resolve family dysfunction, and the strength it takes to break free of our own childhoods. Diana Y Paul is a writer who deftly examines the nuanced cracks in a family that looks bright and shiny to the outside world. She peels away, in fine layers, the jealousy, spite, overt cruelty, and arrogance that lies at the heart of two failed parents who have no interest in redemption but demand homage on the part of their children. A fascinating examination of a damaged family from a wonderful writer.

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