Read When I Married My Mother: A Daughter’s Search for What Really Matters—and How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo by Jo Maeder Online

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Jo Maeder was an ambitious DJ in New York City when she did the unthinkable: she moved to the Bible Belt to look after her frail, estranged mother, who had long been a source of intense frustration. Maeder’s tumultuous journey from simply living with “Mama Jo” to learning to truly love her not only changed Maeder’s life, but also was the catalyst for pulling her long-fractJo Maeder was an ambitious DJ in New York City when she did the unthinkable: she moved to the Bible Belt to look after her frail, estranged mother, who had long been a source of intense frustration. Maeder’s tumultuous journey from simply living with “Mama Jo” to learning to truly love her not only changed Maeder’s life, but also was the catalyst for pulling her long-fractured family together again. Though often rocky, their “marriage” was a triumph that taught her about life, faith, and what really matters.With an estimated 34 million informal caregivers in the United States today, more and more adult children are finding themselves in similar circumstances. Poignant and refreshingly funny, Maeder’s story will resonate with this vast audience, providing an informative and inspirational roadmap for compassionate elder care....

Title : When I Married My Mother: A Daughter’s Search for What Really Matters—and How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780306817953
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

When I Married My Mother: A Daughter’s Search for What Really Matters—and How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo Reviews

  • Connie
    2019-04-03 19:04

    If you are caring for an elderly parent, if you are a daughter, if you have had a difficult relationship with a parent, if you are at a stand still in your life......read this! I think everyone would benefit from reading this thoughtful and thought provoking memoir of Mama Jo. It will open your eyes (and your heart) to see what is really important in life. Jo Maeder takes the reader on a delightful, witty and often wobbly journey as she uproots her life to take care of her Mother and ends up finding herself along the way. I laughed out loud, nodded at the familiar, and cried both with sadness and joy. What a wonderful tribute. How terrific that this daughter was able to make memories that would be with her forever while learning about the woman called Mama Jo, and that Mama Jo was still able to teach her daughter some pretty wise life lessons as well. I took away so many ideas and tips on how to look at my aging Mother a bit differently and appreciate her as more than just my Mother.

  • Andrea
    2019-04-24 22:03

    A late entry to my favorites of what I read in 2012! This book was an incredibly moving personal story about a daughter making the tough choice to leave her career to care for her aging mother full time. A love story of sorts, the book follows the journey as mother and daughter get to know and appreciate each other again. Jo’s transition from the fast-paced life of New York City to North Carolina provided many moments of humor. The book is packed with lovely moments of realization and wonderful details – I feel like I know this family. While I have not lived this exact situation, the author’s description of her mother’s decline resonated with me and my own experience of preparing to say goodbye to my grandmother. This book is a love letter from daughter to mother celebrating the beauty and wisdom of Mama Jo and the indelible mark she left on her children and, through this book, all of us. I don’t know anyone that should not read this book. If nothing else, it is a moving reminder that the only legacy we truly leave is how we’ve touched the lives of those around us.

  • Cindy Hudson
    2019-03-30 22:17

    As a successful Manhattan radio DJ, Jo Maeder led what many would consider a glamorous New York City life. Yet when it became increasingly clear that her mother could no longer live on her own in the home she owned in Virginia, Jo made a choice to leave the city and move with her mother to North Carolina, where they would be near her brother and his new wife.While that’s the basic story behind When I Married My Mother: A Daughter’s Search for What Really Matters—and How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo, there is so much more to be told in this memoir from author Jo Maeder that makes it remarkable. Jo’s parents had separated when she was a teen, and she moved away from her mother to live with her dad and brother in another state. Even before then, she didn’t feel close to Mama Jo, who collected dolls and hoped her daughter would share her passion. She didn’t. Over the years, Maeder and Mama Jo didn’t find much to connect them.So Maeder’s decision to give up her friends and the life she had lived in New York for so long to care for Mama Jo was anything but easy. Complicating the decision was the fact that Mama Jo was a hoarder; her home was a jumble of worthless trash that needed tossing and precious family heirlooms that Jo wanted to hold onto. And Maeder, who was not particularly religious, was moving to be near her brother who, like many people who lived near their new home, was.When I Married My Mother will strike a chord with anyone who has wondered what she will do when an aging parent can no longer care for herself. Who in that situation would not worry whether she is willing to or capable of changing her own life for an unknown future? Jo’s story is very personal in its specific details, but it’s also universal in the questions it asks us to consider: What will I give up if I care for my mother? What will I gain? How will my life change? Will it be worth it?Readers have a glimpse of Maeder’s ultimate conclusion to that last question in the subtitle of her book: A Daughter’s Search for What Really Matters—and How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo. But she doesn’t sugar-coat the difficulties she encounters in adjusting to her new life, and she doesn’t present herself as the perfect daughter. She also continues to question where her new life will lead her. Above all, Maeder gives her readers a look at what is possible when you open yourself up to choosing differently than you ever thought you would.This book has stayed with me since I’ve finished reading it, and I think about it often. I’ve been recommending it to my friends as well as on this site. I believe part of the reason it had such impact on me is because so much of what I read directed to adults caring for elderly parents is about how to make the unbearable bearable. Maeder’s experience makes me believe it can be more than that. Certainly Maeder was unmarried and had no children when she decided to take care of her mother, but she had a vibrant life. She chose to fit caring for her mother into it, and she is happy with her choice. Most parents take joy in ushering their children into this world; Maeder has given us a way to find joy with our parent even when helping them leave it. I believe mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 16 and up would appreciate When I Married My Mother.

  • Ruth
    2019-04-20 18:01

    As many of our generation find that we are parenting the very people we were raised by, this story offers a look at what reconciliation can give back to us. Becoming her mother's caregiver seems to have made whole the family Maeder lost in the years spent accomplishing her career. And in the telling, she creates a new vision for herself as an author. At first, it seems that their lives might be polar opposites: Jo Maeder had made a name for herself in radio in the Northeast, but her elderly mother was losing her faculties down South in the Bible Belt. Jo Maeder writes in a very comfortable manner, revealing the wry sense of humor that also made her a well-liked radio DJ. When I read this book, I had very recently lost my own mother, and more than once found tears streaming down my face, remembering my own struggles with elder care and the feeling that I was alone. If anything, this book proves that we are all in it together.

  • Nelda Williams
    2019-04-06 00:19

    when I married My MotherThis is a wonderful book, I am 83 years old and can associate with Jo and her mother as I have to depend on my daughter to help me out too. These happens are so real for daily lives of old people. Please read this book !!

  • Judy Seguin
    2019-04-01 01:13

    I just finished reading this book and tears are flowing as I knew they would. They are tears of joy that I had a mom who "when given the choice to sit it out or dance" ... danced, and shared that dance with me. She passed away march 14th and although she didn't live with me, I have been (and now realize how blessed I was) significantly involved in her ongoing care for the past 5 years. I purchased this book several months ago and without knowing what the storyline actually was, picked it up two days ago. I started reading, and could barely put it down. The love is in the journey. Thanks Jo, for sharing yours and for making me see why my journey with mom was a gift and a treasure.

  • Jo Maeder
    2019-04-15 18:20

    The 2014 ebook and paperback versions have bonus material that includes a Q&A, Mama Jo's Favorite Cookie award-winning recipe, caregiving tips, discussion questions, and two videos. For more reviews here, search for the hardcover version. Thank you! I appreciate your feedback.

  • Janet Eshenroder
    2019-04-20 20:00

    It's awkward seeing so many four and five stars on this book,and then having to confess that for the first 60% of the book I was ready to quit and give this book one star. I really wanted to like this book. That's why I picked it up. I kept reading only to see if the author could redeem herself. Jo Maeder considers herself a story teller and her background in radio is evident in her writing. If there was one thing that might have made me live through the story, rather than feel like I was sitting across the table listening to her tell me the story, it would have been to simply move the text into present tense. There is a reason they always say "show, don't tell". The telling creates distance, even if the author adds in dialogue. When revealing the story of a rather mundane life, one can be masterful in language, presenting observations, turning of phrases, and descriptions that catch the reader's breath (I'm thinking of "The Stone Diaries," which of course was fiction). One can present fascinating facts that leave the reader better informed and give them a greater depth of understanding into some previously unknown subject(I'm thinking of "One Hundred Names of Love," or "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"). Here, we end up at the kitchen table, listening to a friend recount the minute details of her life. I'm wondering if Maeder's technique of friendly chatter was what made many readers feel at home and comforted.Yes, the story had moments of struggle and internal conflict, but told from the viewpoint of a person obviously competent to deal with temporary hassles. There were humorous comments to let us see the woman who never lets herself caves in from life's challenges. The humor was so friendly that I noted it was supposed to be humor. I also noted that, at least for me, it never brought out even an internal smile.I liken the first half of the book to driving through Kansas. Yes,I'm being exposed to a different part of life in the United States. Yes, I can tell we are making progress. But every page feels so similar the trip drags into eternity. I long for something out of the ordinary. The usual ups and downs, twists and turns of my favorite narrative non-fiction books, that sparkle that make them page-turners, are missing here, having been smoothed out into a pleasant little tale to share with friends. Perhaps I would have found the book more interesting if I'd not simply shared the author's experience. How would one pick up on the warning signs of Alzheimer's or dementia in an aging parent? What are the options for dealing with hoarders who refuse to let go of their possessions? In these sections I wished for a more researched section that would cover the subject and not just Maeder's particular experience. I couldn't help but notice the author got off remarkable easy with her mother's condition. Her mother called 911 and was taken to an assisted living unit so there was no family conflict over removing her from her home. Jo finished a second home and blended her possessions and her mother's (which did seem like a great way to handle the transition). By the time the author came to move her mother out of assisted living, Mama Jo was so grateful to leave the facility that the once stubborn and argumentative mother suddenly became very compliant. Add that to the fact that the mother had the "pleasant dementia" form of Alzheimer's and one ends up forgetting Mama Jo has any problems other than old age. I for one didn't realize there was this type of Alzheimer's, so Maeder's experience may be radically different from what most care-takers experience.At the 60% mark, the author manages to pull me into intimate and revealing moments with her mother. That made me at least consider three stars for the book review. Then, my interest wound back down. She finds family. She finds religion. She finds a new way of looking at life. I can appreciate that Maeder's pulled together a very complete picture of her family. For family members, this is a wonderful collection of personal history. For readers, be prepared to have the author share stories that aren't always related to the story line, but obviously serve to enrich the author's sense of family. Again, there are readers who will feel like they are being treated as a close friend, sharing Maeder's life story. I compared the story to other narrative non-fiction books and found it too rambling,so much of the author's story-telling that I never could put myself in her place. While it had all the elements that should have worked (conflict, humor, dialogue, change), in the end it still felt like driving through Kansas.

  • Kim
    2019-04-20 21:02

    A-MAZ-ING!!! This is one of those books that should be required reading. I am taking it upon myself to get several out to family and friends as gifts. It has a message, one I feel is greatly important and soooo greatly overlooked. This book is hilarious and at the same time completely touching. I don't think I have ever laughed so much while reading any book, and this one has some pretty severe issues attached. It seems, American culture drowns out the issues of the elderly. We never speak of it, it's as if we disappear after a certain age...or maybe we just wish that would happen? There is so much wrong in that, why do we do it? I think this book shows how 'me-minded' we are without being mean about it. We just get so caught up in our own "problems" that we resist people who have more. Maybe doing so means that we look at ourselves and our "problems" in a more real way and realize how superficial we really are, not a lovely way to see yourself either. So we avoid. When, in fact, we should appreciate and get to know our elderly. They have a world unknown to us in their mind, stories to be told....much to offer. Mama Jo was so appreciated by others when she was allowed to feel a little appreciation by her family. She gave many people much joy at the end of her life. This never would have happened had she been left to die alone in her old surroundings, or in a home where they are merely 'residents', not loved family members. I was very touched by Jo's story and I know it will live in my mind for a long time. This is a book I will keep and certainly read again. Maybe not long from now. My mother is 66 and very able to care for her every need; but in another 10 years? I'm ready. I am inspired. My mom deserves to be treated like a Queen in her end days. I was an incredibly spoiled only child and I want her to be spoiled to. I owe her that, at least that. My dad as well. Thank you for this book Jo. I have considered these issues in the past, but...as an incredibly spoiled only child - it's hard for me to see past myself sometimes. I love what you did for Mama Joe. And, the fact that she was a hoarder was actually not so bad after all...all of the history you had to share and look upon, it had to be nice in those last years for her to think of her own mother and grandmother and their importance in her life. What a lovely story! Jo, I wish you every happiness, you're a cool chick and Mama Jo had to be SO proud to have you as a daughter...EVEN while you were 'me-thinking'!!

  • Susie Lindeberg
    2019-03-27 21:15

    I knew I wanted to read this book. But I had to wait until I thought I could handle it emotionally. My mother passed away two months shy of her 95th birthday in 2012. And it has been difficult for me to adjust to her loss. About the first half of the book describes a disconnected relationship between mother & daughter, which was not my situation. But the last half of the book resonated with me and I think would resonate with any daughter who was in a care giving capacity for her mother. My mother never lived with me (once I moved out at 21) but I was still very much in charge of the last years of her life, since I handled her finances and took her to all doctors' appointments & was in the hospital pretty much 2/3 of each day, when she was there. There were many moments in the book that felt like they were pulled from my relationship with my mother. And there were times I was sobbing while reading this book and would have to leave it for a while. Like Ms. Maeder, I was with my mother when she took her last breath. I felt that was a gift. I didn't want my mother to die alone. I enjoyed this book & seeing the way the author's life evolved due to caring for her mother and enjoyed seeing the relationship blossom into a friendship and "marriage". I think this is a great read for daughters and probably better suited to those 40 and older. I don't think I would have appreciated this book as much, when I was in my 20's or 30's.

  • Judie
    2019-04-03 19:56

    Jo Maeder, age 47, divorced and living in New York City, earned her living as a DJ on a radio station that catered to younger listeners and doing voice overs. One day she received a telephone call from her brother Arthur, with whom she was not particularly close, asking her to come to Greensboro, North Carolina, for his wedding and to bring their mother, Mama Jo, who lived in Virginia, with her. Their relationship with their mother was strained. Their parents had divorced when they were teenagers. Afterward, both children lived with their father in D.C. and their mother moved to Florida. To call Mama Jo a hoarder would be an understatement. The yard was overgrown and there were rooms in her house they could barely enter because they were so full of boxes and stacks of all kinds of things: mail, coupons, flyers, papers. She also collected dolls and had more than 700 of them in the house. One of her favorite pastimes was buying more stuff. She was also forgetful and slow and, at times, confused. Jo and Arthur realized she could no longer live on her own and, when seeking a solution, decided assisted living would not be the best solution for her, partly because of the cost. While they set about to clean out her house, they discovered she had failed to pay bills, including taxes and insurance payments. She had packages she hadn’t opened. It turned into a major undertaking. For several reasons, Jo and Arthur decided the best option was for Jo to move to Greensboro, buy a house, and have Mama Jo live with her. “Unusual circumstances led my mother and me to give up our former lives and create a new one together.” The arrangement lasted for until Mama Jo’s death, more than three years later. During that time, Jo had to deal with the issues that caused the estrangement. She states, “I was still annoyed at her for not being the mother I wanted her to be.” Talking to other relatives, with whom she was close, gave her insight into what Jo and Mama Jo had been like when she was growing up. “It was as though I could do no wrong in my mother’s eyes. She could do no right in mine.” Through conversations with others as well as her mother, she also learned more about what her mother’s life had been like. Even though she and her brother had not been close and he had become very religious, working together and sharing memories helped bring them together. Living in the South about taking sides: South or North; Christian or non-Christian; Republican or Democrat; barbeque sauce preference or college athletic team. She found herself being less judgmental. Together, they had some wonderful and funny adventures, like taking her 83-year-old mother to a male strip club. Despite her increasing confusion, her mother was quite astute at times and came up with some very pithy, insightful answers to questions and situations. “That’s not to say this journey was easy. It just wasn’t what I expected. Things I thought for sure would be issues weren’t; things I never thought would be problems were.” At the end of the memoir she advises people “caring for an elderly loved one” that it isn’t easy. She encourages others to “offer your help in any way that you can. All gestures, no matter how small, are appreciated. A world that embraces compassionate care of their elderly is a better world in general.” The book is honest, witty, and helpful. She writes about how she changed and includes some helpful information for others facing a similar situation. From a hospice nurse she learned, “Starvation is one of the most peaceful and painless ways to go. The body creates its own morphine.” She also states, “There was now a law that any policy that covers dementia... has to have a contact person listed in case a payment is missed.” At the end of the book there is a Q & A section with the author about the book, her caregiving tips, a guide for bookclubs and classrooms, reader comments, and pictures. One error in the book is referring to someone as a “Reformed rabbi.” Unless the rabbi had a sinful past, the word should have been “Reform rabbi.”This e-book was a free Amazon download.

  • Alyssa
    2019-04-02 23:51

    As someone who has helped my parents be the caretakers for my grandmother and someone who has moved from New York to North Carolina, I feel a certain kinship with Jo. I appreciated how she originally wanted nothing more than to go back to New York, but then fell in love with North Carolina just as she fell in love with her mother. Mother/daughter relationships are interesting in general, and Jo's relationship with Mama Jo was particularly engaging. Both characters grew over the course of the story, and I found myself wanting to meet both women. Highly recommend!

  • Miranda Atchley
    2019-04-22 01:16

    When I Married My Mother is a non-fiction book based on Jo Maeder's experience caring for her mother who suffered from dementia.Growing up, Jo never felt close with her mother, whom she called Mama Jo. After her parents' divorce, Jo moved to Florida with her father and brother, Mama Jo letting them go with seemingly little fight. The two kept a distant and cool relationship, Jo moving to New York to become a radio DJ after college and Mama Jo remaining in Virginia. When Jo's brother remarries in North Carolina, he asks Jo to pick up Mama Jo on her way to the wedding. Jo begrudgingly accepts and once there, she notices the state of Mama Jo's home has grown worse as her hoarding has increased and her health has declined. Jo knows that something must be done and again begrudgingly, decides that the responsibility is up to her.This was a fantastic read. Initially I was interested in the book because I have a close relationship with my mother, yet as I read the book I found myself thinking more of my grandmother. Like Mama Jo, my grandma collected dolls and had a hard time letting go of objects. Also, I lost my grandmother this year and could relate to the process of watching a loved one's health decline and eventually be put on hospice care.When reading descriptions of this book it sounds terribly heavy and saddening. It does have some heartbreakingly sad moments, but it also has some funny one's to balance things out as Jo and Mama Jo learn to live with one another and develop a strong mother-daughter bond. I like that Jo incorporated background stories that give depth to her frayed relationship with Mama Jo in the past as well as stories from Mama Jo's life that helped Jo better understand her mother.Aside from adjusting to living with her estranged mother, Jo tries to adapt to living in a totally different atmosphere. Moving from New York to North Carolina proves to be a big undertaking, but Jo finds that Greensboro isn't quite so backwards and dull like she had expected.This book does contain some mature content not suitable for young readers, but said anecdotes are brief and not the main focus.Overall, this is a beautiful story full of heart that will make you laugh, cry, and appreciate your mother. Because if you're not right with your mama, you're probably not going to be right with anyone.

  • Beth
    2019-04-03 22:16

    I read this for the memoir category of the Popsugar 2015 challenge. In a nutshell, it's about a woman who leaves her long-time home and glamorous job as a DJ in New York to move to Greensboro NC and share a house with her elderly mother. They've basically been estranged for years, and her mother is developing dementia, has been living alone in Richmond, and is such a horrific hoarder that her house has rooms they can't open the doors to, and is about to be condemned. It's a funny and sweet book, and although the writing is somewhat scattered and all over the place, that ended up not being as important to me as it usually is since the story is so compelling.It did seem like she may have glossed over the actual caretaking part a bit --the transformation she seemed to undergo between having to figure out what to do about her mom when she obviously can't continue to live alone, and the actual living together and being a full-time caretaker was a little drastic: resentment, fear and massive stress to total acceptance and enjoyment. But, Mama Jo's dementia didn't appear to be severe, and they were able to enjoy the time they had together, so maybe it really was that drastic a change. It was a very powerful case for stepping up and taking care of the people you love when the time comes. Be sure to check out the stuff at the end. There's a lot of really interesting additional information about Mama Jo's massive and somewhat bizarre collection of dolls, and a link to a YouTube video where the author is talking about the dolls and what she's done to find them good homes after her mom passed away. It was hilarious, and also fun to see Jo Maeder (the author) after reading the book.

  • Bronna
    2019-04-01 17:06

    Maybe it's because I'm experiencing a lot of these issues from care taking my 86 year old mother for 3 years now in my home or maybe it's because this was a wonderfully written book, but it was a "I cannot put it down" read for me.Of course, not only did I identify with the care taking portion of the book but I also happened to be born in Winston-Salem NC and still reside in a nearby town called Belews Creek NC. It was so very interesting to me to read how someone from Manhatten saw so many interesting cultural differences in us southerners. She pointed out so many familiar things to me, things I've always taken for granted and I supposed that people all over the country experienced the same things, such as a neighborhood ice cream social. She also referred to places that I've been all my life, eating joints and the likes, except maybe where she took her mother to the club in Kernersville NC.The writing was superb and there was never a dull moment in the book. These people certainly lead interesting lives. It reminded me of the important things in life and then this morning I was reading the scriptures saying our life is like poured out water....it goes so quickly and what we do for others, sometimes, is our legacy. I would say this about the writer. I feel as though I know her heart and this is a warming story of part of her life and has meant a lot to me.Whether you have been faced with this decision of taking care of someone you love or not, the book is well worth the read and I encourage everyone to get the book.

  • Kathe Coleman
    2019-04-13 22:04

    Jo Maeder gave up her successful career as a New York City DJ in order to care for her aging mother in Greensborro Mama Jo was a hoarder and after living for decades on her own the house was crammed with miscellaneous junk along with an extensive doll collection. The stress builds as she must clear out the house, sell it and build a new home that accommodates her mother’s needs while still providing Maeder a home base operation for her voice over work as a DJ. She organizes home aides, doctors and home repairs, and frets about money while poking fun at the culture shock she feels having left New York. Everything from snakes and woodchucks in the backyard, to a maple tree putting roots into the septic tank, plague the house in Greensboro. Maeder’s devotion to her mother is full of respect and humor. Over the course of the book, Maeder’s bond to her mother deepens, transforming from overwhelmed stress and resentment to a more peaceful, accepting love. Really enjoyed this memoir 4.5

  • Nicole
    2019-04-14 01:03

    When I Married My MotherBy: Jo MaederOne New Yorker DJ and one elderly, aging woman living in the heart of the Bible-loving south are being reunited thanks to life. Jo decides to leave her home to head south to care for her mother, despite all of her friends and family begging her not to go. Looking back now, Jo would never change those final few years with her mom, since that short time taught her more about life than she had ever learned before.This is an emotional tale of a woman coming to terms with her broken home past and how it is affecting her present. This is a heart-warming tale with laugh-out-loud moments that provide a break from the serious monotony of caring for an aging parent. Jo Maeder perfectly balances the intricate line of finding laughter during difficult times. This is a must read for everyone woman in the world. Notes:This review was originally written for My Sister's Books.This review was originally posted on Ariesgrl Book Reviews.

  • Gerri
    2019-04-10 22:10

    Loved this book!!Parts of the Book I could relate to about Jo's experience of coming to North Carolina from a Big City. Hysterical on all Levels!!. Heart warming shares on her life with her Mama and how she cared for her. Jo Maeder worked with my first husband Earl at two different radio stations as on air personalities and every time I got the chance to be around her I felt a kinship. I look forward to reconnecting with her now that we are back in the same state again!! and about an hour and a half away. Funny thing is my now husband Mark has a sister in Greensboro Marsha who is taking care of their Mom Jean and I will be sure to pass this book on to her especially now that Moms dementia is progressing. For anyone who has to decide to care for their parents(Mom or Dad)as they get older I recommend this book. No it's not a how to book, I have learned that through someone else's Life experiences we can gain some knowledge into our own.

  • Christine Cruso
    2019-04-13 23:17

    A must read for any caregiverA must read for any caregiverA heartwarming story of a daughter, successfully leading her own life, whose life is turned upside down in order to care for her declining mother. Her life is transformed in all ways imaginable and though there are challenges, all of the life changes are for the best. She builds a closer relationship with her mother, seeing her through new eyes and with a newfound appreciation. She details the struggles she encounters while caring for her mother and how she deals with those situations. A truly realistic and beautiful mother/daughter story. Especially touching for me as I watch my mom care for my father with Alzheimer's. If you or someone you know is caring for someone they love, you will enjoy this story.

  • Jane
    2019-03-26 22:11

    If you are caring for an elderly relative, this book will buoy your spirits! Jo Maeder tells the story of her caregiving journey with raw honesty and tenderness. She finds herself almost to mid-life, single, and on-the-hook to take care of her aging mother who has Alzheimer's. Reluctant, but dutiful, Jo is all in. Her commitment is inspiring and instructive! Her relationship with her mother has not been idyllic, and her relationship with her brother is stilted. As she cares for her mother, all this changes. She is a picture of humility and willingness to change. She is, in fact, the catalyst for change, reconciliation, and the flourishing of her relationships. There's so much more I'd like to know about this lady; the book left me wanting to have coffee with her! Encouragement AND a sweet story. Can't beat that with a stick.

  • Scot
    2019-04-22 20:57

    I didn't like this book, at first. The narrator, a 47 year old New York City-based divorced woman who worked as a DJ/voice artist in the world of radio, came off as a bit too self-absorbed, rather whiney and demanding, although I believe she thought she would be interpreted as a witty, hip urbanite. Therefore, her complaints about her oddball mother, a notorious hoarder and creepy doll collector, didn't matter to me that much. However, I have to give the author credit, for as the memoir progresses and we get the details of her experiences after the two women move in together (someone has to be there with the mother; she can simply no longer live alone) I started liking both women better and was willing to accept them, each with their own flaws.The dolls, however, remain creepy.

  • Corina
    2019-04-21 17:04

    I almost stopped reading it altogether. At first, I did not find the writer (this is a true story so the writer was also the main character) to be engaging and was really put off but I put it down for awhile then came back to it. I'm glad I did. It turned out to be a very interesting and even inspirational read.When Jo takes on the task of moving from her New York home to North Carolina to take care of her ill and aging mother with whom she never got along, interesting things happen to both women. The process makes Jo a different person who is open to and moved by learning about who her mother really was and what she felt and what she never got from life. This really turned out to be good. I'm glad I went back to it.

  • Sara
    2019-04-20 21:53

    An interesting account of Jo Maeder's decision to care for her aging (and ultimately dying) mother. She relocates from New York to North Carolina and changes her life in every way possible in order to take care of Mama Jo. What she discovers is that she gets as much from her mother as she gives. She is given the rare chance to get to know a person only a moment before it is too late.The book was an easy read, with some laughter to lighten the inevitable sadness. It made me so glad that I always KNEW my own mother so intimately and that I did not have to wonder who she was at the end of her life. I miss mine every day, so this intimate tale did seem to be about what really matters in life to me.

  • Megan Highfill
    2019-03-31 23:53

    Truly enjoyed this both time-appropriate (for my life) and incredibly thoughtful book. This selective memoire can be as haunting as it is joyful. The beautiful journey of mother and daughter feels honest but hopeful and I felt like I could relate to every page, even though I do not necessarily share this experience. As my family moves to make some big changes with my grandparents, I read this book as a sort of support source, but got so much more: wisdom, empathy, and patience. I admire Jo Maeder and her mother and appreciate this intimate look on their last few years together. Thank you!

  • Stephanie Taylor
    2019-04-03 19:03

    I wanted to be frustrated at the simplicity of just forgiving a parent for years of estrangement and the author's giving up her own life to care for her mother, but the window into someone else's dysfunctional family was far too intriguing. The book is light on the deep emotional struggle that the author had to have felt, but I loved how much she learned from her mom and about herself on this journey. I finished the book and promptly called my own mom to set up a time to see her this week--that's how touched I was by the mother-daughter bonding here!

  • Lisa McDowell
    2019-04-09 00:51

    So very good in so many waysI would recommend this well written book to anyone with parents. Most of us at one point or another will have to deal with an elder parent that requires care. Reading this brought some great memories I had of caring for my dad as he passed from cancer and then helping mom navigate being alone for the next 13 years until she passed. I learned so much from my mom about her, my dad, their time dating, etc that my much older brother and sisters didn't know about. Jo has it right, the experience is a gift.

  • Carol Arnold
    2019-04-05 21:08

    This was a true story about a dysfunctional family and how they were able to overcome obstacles and learn to love each other. The author, Jo Madder, was the daughter who ended up caring for and loving her aging mother. She wrote in a light and amusing way of the trials and joys that they experienced. Jo learned to love and appreciate the woman who gave her life, not to just merely tolerate her as she had for years. Her mother became her best friend.

  • Sabrina
    2019-04-17 00:19

    We interviewed Jo Maeder for a blog post at work. I took one look at the picture of Jo Maeder with her mother, Mama Jo and just had to read the book. I thought it was just the sweetest picture, and the book was funny, sad and eye-opening as well. It's amazing thinking about how we enter this world helpless, and most of us will leave that way too.

  • Victoria
    2019-04-20 20:10

    This was an odd book for me to read yet a thorough delight with a lot of deep thinking accompanying it. I don't think I can say it better than part of a cover blurb: "Jo Maeder has written the most unlikely book--where I should have been sad, I laughed. Where I should have cried, I felt happy. ..." (Rebecca Johnson)

  • Rebecca Wilkins
    2019-04-01 19:53

    Precious memoriesJo and her mother shared so many of the same things my mom & I shared. Since moms passing, I now have those memories to share with my dad. Everyone should read this, what a joy to know others have felt the same ups, downs, joy & heartache loving and caring for an aging parent, and being there at the moment of passing.