The impact of a hidden family tragedy ripples across three generations in Where are the Grown Ups? the new narrative memoir by Ruth Badley, available on Amazon and selected independent bookshops.
Rose Dehaan, 25, a Jewish cigarette maker from London’s East End only had time to name her baby Sylvia before post-partum eclampsia claimed her life at the age of 25, in May 1930. Sylvia, the author’s mother, was subsequently adopted by an aunt and uncle.
Where are the grown-ups? reflects on the impact of this death through scenes that recall the author’s uncomfortable childhood memories and those that explore Sylvia’s story at an earlier time in East London.
A non-linear narrative moves from present day Dubai, to 1960s and 70s North London, and to the Jewish East End between the wars. The story concludes in East London during 2017.
Each generation inherits its own cast of inadequate fathers, monstrous stepmothers and depressed mothers, and at the heart of it all, Rose, the grandmother that never was.
Universal coming of age themes of identity and inheritance will resonate with readers of all backgrounds.
Ruth Badley says, “When the natural order is disrupted, and part of our personal history is erased, who do we become? As children we assume our parents are perfect and complete creations, but mums and dads will inevitably misbehave, test the boundaries, make mistakes, stamp their feet and shed tears before they become the men and women they need to be.”