You might remember Doreen from my post about her first book, Bristol Boyz Stomp. She’s a great friend and a caretaker by nature. A question from her second book The Stranger in My Recliner, “What would you do?” prompts me almost daily to think about the Good Samaritan. To Doreen, it’s not just a story, it’s a way of life.
Doreen was in the middle of writing Bristol Boyz Stomp when her husband brought Sophie home one rainy night. Dirty, hungry, and cold from living behind the local McDonald’s, the homeless woman frightened Doreen. Should she lock up what little valuables she had? Was her life in danger? Should she worry about disease?
Before she knew it, Sophie took over Doreen’s recliner, renamed her Deena, and captured her heart.
[tweetthis]”Stop writing that ugly murder story,” Sophie warned Doreen. “Someone will come after you..”[/tweetthis] Bristol Boyz Stomp is the true story of how Doreen’s brother was brutally murdered and the failure of justice that followed. So Sophie’s warning gave her pause. Besides that, caring for Sophie really slowed Doreen’s writing down. Yet, she readily admits that holing away to write “gave me a break from the emotional rollercoaster that Sophie put me on.”
Sophie was a mystery. How did she come to be forsaken? What happened to her teeth? Is she mentally ill? Is she cognitively delayed? Did she really have a boyfriend that was an Elvis impersonator? What about her family? And the biggest question Doreen had, “How could anyone abandon their mother?” No matter how strained the relationship, nothing could be bad enough to leave your mother living in the woods outside Philadelphia.
[tweetthis]”Write my story,” Sophie implored more than once. So that’s what Doreen did.[/tweetthis]
The Stranger in My Recliner is Doreen’s journey with Sophie and her way of healing after the heartbreak of Sophie’s loss.
Although Doreen used the same publisher as with Bristol Boyz Stomp, the ownership changed. “I should have listened to my gut,” she told me. The book has some obvious formatting flaws, and she’s less than happy with the editing process. That aside, because the story is true and Doreen pulls no punches about the ups and downs of her journey with Sophie, it’s easy to put these problems in the background and marvel at how love grows out of Doreen’s patience and tenacity.
Doreen’s next book is the true story of suicide and its aftermath. Based on her stepson’s suicide, Doreen says this story is redemptive and healing. “After that, I’m writing fiction,” proclaims Doreen.
Doreen McGettigan is a Good Samaritan in every sense of the word. She not only helped this elderly homeless woman, Sophie, she housed her, clothed her, fed her, took her to the doctor, helped her reclaim her lost possessions, and saw to her every need. It was not always easy, and McGetttigan tells the truth about her fear and sometimes disgust.
McGettigan’s simple question, “What would you do?” challenges us to not only look at the homeless as our brothers and sisters, but to take action to relieve their suffering.
For more about Doreen and her writing, or to hire her as a speaker, click here.
Doreen gave me two copies of The Stranger in my Recliner to give to my faithful readers. So leave a comment to enter the drawing. If you prefer an e-book, be sure to note that along with your comment.
I’m so happy to claim Doreen as my friend! Here we are together at the conference we both attended.