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#BookReview – Tales from the Family Crypt – Deborah Carroll

book reviews

My Sunday book review introduces author Deborah Carroll and her memoir, Tales from the Family Crypt.


The Blurb:


What if your true story is more bizarre than fiction? This intriguing narrative nonfiction memoir reads like a compelling novel. Deborah Carroll and her husband Ned want to do what it takes to care for their aging parents and help them face death peacefully. Their difficult, dysfunctional, and despicable siblings want something else. They want to grab money and power. They are controlling people in situations beyond their control.

These siblings will stop at nothing to accomplish their missions. They will lie and cheat, they will take advantage of the dying; they will even break the law.

Ultimately it’s a love story that twists and turns with humor and insight about what makes or breaks the bonds of family. Deborah and her husband are compassionate people. They thought they had happy childhoods in normal families. They could not have predicted how low their adult siblings would go to get what they wanted. The death of aging parents can challenge even good families. In troubled families with any type of family rift, disputes over eldercare and inheritances can be astronomically distressing.

Thanks to a deep and abiding love and a resolute determination to do the right thing, Ned and Deborah are able to transcend the challenges and go on to live a wonderful life. A great read for anyone with a family.


Tales From The Family Crypt: When Aging Parents Die, Sibling Rivalry Lives by [Carroll, Deborah]


Get this book on Amazon


My Review – 5 Stars – Aging, Dying, Dysfunction and Overcoming


Many families have their own type of dysfunction. In this book, Carroll shares her stories of just some of the things many of us can relate to with dysfunction. Carroll takes us in by demonstrating the traits in her family members that contributed to their chaotic personalities by the actions they took.

The book encompasses aging and dying parents and what some families endure throughout the process. From the broken relationship the author has with her sister, to putting up with her husband’s sibling’s distorted versions of love and compassion when dealing with the inevitable death of their mother, dysfunct abounds from many angles.

The element of toxic relationships is brought to the forefront in this story, and although sad in many ways, the author manages to keep her sanity and marriage intact throughout all of it. I commend Carroll for her stamina, and I especially liked the ending when she explained her feelings and perceptions about the people she wrote about. A must read for anyone dealing with these issues.


Check out Debby’s other books HERE

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


  • Ann Fields

    The title caught me right off and the story description – though nothing I can relate to, thank God – is both bitter and sweet. Definitely a compelling read. Thanks for showcasing this book and author.

  • Deborah Drezon Carroll

    Thanks, Debby. I ironically just this morning I was greeted by an email from a man who’d just read my book and his mom died this week. He was writing to thank me and to pick my brain. He is in the midst of a similar dysfunctional situation to mine, dealing with his toxic siblings and his grief. I advised him to grieve now and resist the temptation to get wrapped up in his (justified) anger at his family. I wrote him a long note and he wrote back thanking me for listening. I can’t tell you how good this all made me feel, I know it’s somewhat selfish of me to say but I wrote the book to help people with challenging families and to hear from someone who says he was helped, well that’s the best reward I could get. Then I see your review. Wow, what a day, what a boost to me sense of self! Much thanks from me to you.

    • dgkaye

      Isn’t that a beautiful feeling knowing your work is helping others. I know just what you mean Deb. I’ve had some really good feedback on my book Words We Carry, somewhat the same, from people who carry a low self-esteem for years, not realizing where the root of it stemmed from. It is truly rewarding when we know we are helping others. It’s a definite lift to remind us to keep on going. <3

  • Christy B

    I think I would get a lot out of reading this book because of some stresses with people close to me.. It would be a tough read for me but I think I’d feel better too knowing that I’m not alone in some things… Thanks Deb.

  • balroop2013

    I think I can relate to this story…I have been struggling to write one such story I have within me but keep abandoning it half-way when I get wedged in the distressing details and find myself at the loss of words. Probably this book could steer me out of those chasms to emerge successful.
    Thank you D.G. for sharing this book review. Have a wonderful week.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for dropping by Balroop. I too wrote my memoir Conflicted Hearts on family dysfunction. Indeed it is difficult to write, and several breaks were taken to compose myself and my thoughts. And it is amazing to find that so many of us have similar skeletons. I could so relate to Debby’s book. And happy week to you too Balroop. 🙂

  • adeleulnais

    This sounds like a great book having already gone through the horror of watching aunts and uncles fight like seagulls over scraps I know where the author is coming from. Great review Debby.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Adele. Unfortunately many of us have lived through these things. Debby is just brave enough to put it all out there and share with us. A truly great read! 🙂

  • Annika Perry

    An unusual topic for a memoir but one I imagine is sadly true for many. I wonder how Carroll’s siblings reacted to the book and if she needed their permission etc? Excellent review, Debby.

  • Aquileana

    Such a great review., dear Debbie.. The plot sounds interesting … and I love the way you highlighted the main topics… Interestingly enough (I was thinking that) it is not usual to speak about the Themes of the book, meaning in reviews… But they are the basic patterns from which actions flow and characters react or act, somehow… Generalities come before particularities, I assume… Sending love & best wishes!. Aquileana 😀

  • Deborah Jay

    Gosh, I must be so fortunate to have only a mildly dysfunctional family!
    I am right in the middle of this situation at this precise time, waiting for my father (97) to die (doctor said days to weeks, now been 3 months and he isn’t getting any worse…) and caring for my elderly mother (96) at the same time. By great fortune, while my brother is hopeless at facing up to things, and totally impractical, my sister-in-law is great, and so is my niece.
    I do have to keep a watch on things, as while very practical, my sister-in-law puts different values on family possessions, but that aside, we are handling things well together.
    I might take a read just to see what I’ve missed out on!

    • dgkaye

      Wow Deb, you have your hands so full. I’m sorry for what you’re dealing with. I know, I’ve been there. 🙂 And yes, Debby’s book is definitely insightful, you may be enlightened with the parts about ‘the possessions’. And you may be grateful you don’t have her family, lol. 🙂

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