Well, how exactly do you grab a naked lady? The truth is you don’t grab a naked lady. You don’t exactly grab anything at all actually.
In fact, Sharon L. Hicks’ memoir How Do You Grab A Naked Lady?, never offers a direct solution. In the memoir, Hicks recounts memories about her mother, Carolyn, struggling through mental illness. Mental illness is naked, uninhibited, and you never know what you are going to get. Though it is difficult to deal with, Hicks presents her experiences in a humorous and sophisticated manner. She kicks off the book describing one of the many moments in which her mother gets naked and writes how “It happened in one swift, fluid motion. Mother pulled her muumuu over her head and then let it flutter over the railing, where it settled gracefully on the fine jewelry counter below. There she stood, my mother, on the second floor, behind the see-through Plexiglas barrier, naked.” The humor stems from two places: the first is Carolyn’s fearlessness at just standing and being naked as if it was second nature. The second is how being naked and blunt makes some people uncomfortable even if most are sophisticated adults. The truth is being naked—physically, mentally, emotionally—takes a lot of courage and though many people may find it difficult, at least it’s honest, much like the memoir itself.
Most touching of all is Hicks’ ability to paint a portrait of her experiences as a young child. After another episode with her mother, Hicks remembers, “The handsome stranger knelt down next to me, and looked me straight in the eyes. He had the kindest eyes I had ever seen, and I was overcome by an urge to curl up in his lap… ‘I’m not just your dad’s friend, I’m a doctor. My name is Dr. Paskowitz, and I came tonight to observe your mother.’” Though it is quite obvious that Hicks is recounting this as a grown adult, her ability to transform her writing to portray the innocent point of view of a child is quite spectacular. She describes these memories as if they were currently happening with the staccato sentence structure a child could muster, yet the language itself is elevated.
Overall, Hicks’ memoir is nothing short of spectacular and bitter-sweet. Learning how to grab a naked lady does not necessarily mean grabbing her, but looking at how “naked” life can be—either way, life is beautiful even if it may be uncomfortable.
Sharon L. Hicks is a retired executive living in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is the daughter of businessman and community leader Harold E. Hicks, whose company, Hicks Homes, built over 20,000 affordable pre-designed homes in Hawaii. How Do You Grab a Naked Lady? is her first book, inspired by her mother.