By Buffy Calvert

Dipping into Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey that her daughter Sally was studying in AP English, Mary Overly Dais realized that the story is basically the tale of Odysseus’ struggle to find his way home from the Trojan War. Since we all want to find home, everyone’s life is an odyssey.

To her surprise she didn’t find that anyone else had used Homer’s poem as a structure for a memoir. Mary had a story to tell: the trauma of her husband Jerry’s long struggle with cancer and her own journey after his death to raise her daughter Sally and regain her own independence.

Twenty years ago she began to write a memoir using the form and characters (mortal and immortal) from the Odyssey. She became Melete; Sally, Halcyon; and Jerry, Adonis.

The language of Odysseus and Me is lively, poetic and powerful. The effect is dramatic.  I think it enriches the experience if you have read The Odyssey, but Mary includes helpful notes to the story as a whole and to each of the 24 chapters.

Mary Overly grew up in Texas and New Orleans. She left home to study architecture, married fellow architect, Jerry Davis, and moved to New York City. In 1988, visiting friends in Delhi and looking for a weekend retreat for themselves; they fell in love with the house in Andes on the Triangle. They bought it and used their twin skills to restore it.

Mary has been a full-time resident for many years. When she finished her audacious memoir, she put it on the shelf. Then she met David Krajicek of News Ink Press at the Andes Hotel. After reading the book, he became her enthusiastic editor and publisher.

   Odysseus and Me is available from Diamond Hollow Bookstore in Andes and from Amazon. ~