What Their Care Means

Playing the role of caregiver is for millions of people an unacknowledged rite of passage.

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Playing the role of caregiver—or being the ailing recipient—is for millions of people an unacknowledged rite of passage, says Nell Casey, editor of An Uncertain Inheritance: Writers on Caring for Family. Casey, who aided her depressed sister, has called on noted authors—with a foreword by Frank McCourt—to meditate on their own transformative experiences. "These authors," she writes, "lay bare the complexities, the unexpected compensations, and the private sadness of being relegated to this no man's land of illness.... Finally, this truth emerges: We endure." The book lands in stores this week.