About the Book
Parsing the Dragon: A Memoir
BY SUSAN GLENN LAMPE
The author’s world shifts in 2006, when her father's illness summons her back to her hometown, Decatur, Illinois, from her current home in the Pacific Northwest. She finds her father on the mend but his illness unmasks the hidden diagnosis of her mother’s dementia. Sensing the end of her mother's life is imminent, Susan confronts her on their relationship, one fraught with so much criticism and cruelty, that the author secretly sees her mother as “The Dragon.” Throughout the next eight years, the Glenn children struggle to keep their ninety-year-old parents comfortable while they downsize the family’s unwieldy estate.
On a September afternoon in 2010, Susan sorts through the last of her parents' possessions still haunted by the question----Did her mother truly love her? Suddenly she finds unexpected answers in a trove of letters found in a shoebox. The letters illuminate the lives of a young couple, Clarence and Adele Glenn, newly married but separated by war. Her mother awaits Susan's birth in Chicago, while her father serves as ship's doctor in the U.S. Navy, on the U.S.S. Natoma Bay aircraft carrier. The lives of the young family depend on the outcome of World War II.