Mike Keren Interviewed About His "Funny Book About Death and Dying"
In Four Funerals, No Marriage: A Memoir, author Mike Keren gives his readers an inside look at his unexpected foray into caregiving to his sick and dying parents and in-laws. Often funny and always poignant, the story begins when his loving but difficult parents announce they are moving back to New Jersey from their retirement home in North Carolina because they "never really liked it there." Within days of arriving on a house-hunting trip, his father is hospitalized with a stroke and his mother with another in a series of heart attacks. At the same time, his partner's mother is recuperating from a hysterectomy and struggling with chemotherapy after a diagnosis of uterine cancer. Keren is seriously challenged by what he sees as an uncaring health care delivery system, one from which he had previously fled, leaving his career as a clinical psychologist when he felt too frustrated by the organizations in which he worked. Additionally, he must deal with the unhappy marriage between his parents, sibling relationships that have often been his undoing, a homophobic world, and his own lifetime of affective dysregulation.