Joy Bergman is not slipping into old age with the quiet grace her children, Molly and Daniel, would prefer. She won't take their advice, and she won't take an antidepressant. Her marriage to their father, Aaron, has lasted through health and dementia, as well as some phenomenally lousy business decisions. The Bergman clan has always stuck together, growing as it incorporated in-laws, ex-in-laws, and same-sex spouses. But families don't just grow, they grow old. Cathleen Schine's They May Not Mean To, but They Do is a tender, sometimes hilarious intergenerational story about searching for where you belong as your family changes with age.
When Aaron dies, Molly and Daniel have no shortage of solutions for their mother's loneliness and despair, but there is one challenge they did not count on: the reappearance of an ardent suitor from Joy's college days. They didn't count on Joy suddenly becoming as willful and rebellious as their own kids.
With sympathy, humor, and truth, Schine explores the intrusion of old age into a large and loving family. They May Not Mean To, but They Do is a radiantly compassionate look at three generations, all coming of age together.