Defending Her Son: A Memoir


174 pages
ISBN 1-55071-105-9
DDC 801'.95'092





Reviewed by Pauline Carey

Pauline Carey is an actor, playwright, and fiction writer. She is the
author of Magic and What’s in a Name?


John O’Meara, the author of Otherworldly Hamlet (1991) and Othello’s
Sacrifice (1996), was born in Quebec of Irish and Québécois parents
and grew up to be a Shakespeare scholar, anthroposophist, and teacher.
This short memoir is an examination of his struggle with what he terms
his “difficult destiny,” a destiny akin to that of Orpheus whose
mother and Muse, Calliope, was unable to defend him against his fate.
Hence the title, taken from Milton’s Paradise Lost.

There have been many setbacks in O’Meara’s professional career and
in his involvement with Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy movement, and
many dissolutions in his personal life. His relationships with women,
some entailing marriage and babies, assumed a pattern of passionate
involvement, cooling off, and separation. Although he constantly
professes affection for the loved one, O’Meara seems more concerned
with his intellectual life; it comes as no surprise to the reader when
his response to the loss of one of his women is eclipsed by his despair
at parting company with the Anthropological Society in Montreal.
Ultimately, Defending Her Son is a morality tale—the tortuous story of
one man’s struggle to reconcile the passion of the mind with the
vagaries of the heart.


O'Meara, John., “Defending Her Son: A Memoir,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024,