'No Saints Around Here': "A monumental display of selflessness and love"
Susan Allen Toth’s new book of essays, No Saints Around Here: A Caregiver’s Days, is a beautiful chronicle of the life of a primary caregiver. Toth’s beloved husband, James, had Parkinson’s disease. Although he was ill for over a decade, these essays were written in the last 18 months of James’s life. The stories she tells in this book are brutally honest, funny, and affecting, with the end result being a very worthwhile read about unconditional love, sacrifice, time, and loss.
Her readers get the sense that Toth left these essays very much in their original state, which, to her credit, was probably a difficult thing to do. The most surprising aspect of this book is how extremely candidly she writes. It likely would have been easy (and tempting) for an author of a book like this to go back and edit with the sentimental hand that is hindsight. Toth, on the other hand, left these essays as they were when she wrote them, in a gritty testimony to the grueling years she put in as a caregiver. The result is a book that holds nothing back. Watching a loved one slowly succumb to a disease like Parkinson’s is not an easy feat — but it’s even more difficult to be at ground zero, day in and day out, for years.