The Seasons of My Mother by Marcia Gay Harden
Published: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Atria Books
Format: via Netgalley
Marcia Gay Harden knew at a young age that her life would be anything but ordinary. One of five lively children born to two Texas natives—Beverly, a proper Dallas lady, and Thad, a young naval officer—she always had a knack for storytelling, role-playing, and adventure. As a military family, the Hardens moved often, and their travels eventually took them to Yokohama, off the coast of Japan, during the Vietnam War era. It was here that Beverly, amid the many challenges of raising her family abroad, found her own self-expression in ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging.
Using the philosophy of ikebana as her starting point, Marcia Gay Harden intertwines the seasons of her mother’s life with her own journey from precocious young girl to budding artist in New York City to Academy Award=winning actress. With a razor-sharp wit, as well as the kind of emotional honesty that has made her performances resonate with audiences worldwide, Marcia captures the joys and losses of life even as her precious mother gracefully strives to maintain her identity while coming to grips with Alzheimer’s disease.
Powerful and incredibly stirring, The Seasons of My Mother illustrates the unforgettable vulnerability and beauty of motherhood, as Marcia does what Beverly can no longer do: she remembers.
When I became aware of this book I really wanted to read it because it’s subject matter really hits home with me. My grandmother has dementia and as her caretaker, I’m researching everything I can when it comes to dementia and Alzheimer’s.
I really did enjoy this read but I must admit I was looking for more of a telling of her experiences with her mothers Alzheimer’s but this was more of a retelling of her growing up. I did enjoy this touching read but I was expecting more on her mother’s Alzheimer's journey but it was nevertheless a great read of her mother's life. There were some things I totally identified with when she did tell of how her mother is with Alzheimer’s, I definitely saw some of the same signs that my grandmother has. I felt that there was someone out there who knows what I’m going through. Some people can say oh I know its hard but let’s be honest they don’t know how it is unless you are going through it also, while the support is great in theory but no one knows the true day to day struggle and seeing someone you love slip away little by little every day. I try to be strong for her but it's great when I can find someone who truly knows how those emotions are and to be able to read someone else’s journey is comforting.
While this wasn’t completely the read I was expecting it is a rewarding novel to read. It’s a love letter to her to mother and while her mother might not remember her daughter will and to know that her life and her love will never be forgotten is the most wonderful thing anyone could do for a loved one.