Until the Iris Bloom
by Tina Olton

"Bernie said she thought most people understood Tidy’s problem, but Tidy knew the locals had her down as the crazy old lady."

Tidy Bourbon is a ninety-two-year-old homeowner who is fighting for the dignity of self-reliance as sickness and dementia gradually overcome her. After living in the business district of Oakmont, California, for over fifty years, her house is the last to stand amid prime property and has become a goldmine for real estate developers. But Tidy is unshakeable. She has stubbornly rejected all bids and is resolute on living out her life on her own terms and in her own home. Part Quadroon and part Cajun, she has never lost her Southern Louisiana roots. Now, her overextended generosity toward others has left her with diminishing savings. Scrambled thoughts, unpaid bills, and a house in disarray form the backdrop of Tidy’s existence. When Ivan—her devoted live-in companion and cook—assaults a real estate agent who visits her, he is sentenced to jail on a felony charge. A widowed social worker, a banker, and a financial planner all come to her aid, but none can replace the special relationship between Tidy and Ivan.

Olton’s book is a compelling treatise on aging told through the narration of her central character. From Tidy’s trademark “fluffy pink slippers” to her eccentric attire, quick temper, and loveable kindness, the author has developed a character that will capture the sympathies of all who accompany her to the very last pages. Drawing on her experience as a counselor for elders, Olton conveys an in-depth understanding of the trials and tribulations of the elderly, which is evident in her lifelike account of the decline of Tidy’s physical and mental faculties. Tidy’s invincible spirit resonates in every human being who experiences the challenges, the pain, the sadness, the humor, and the victories of aging.

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