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Book of the Week #16- When I Married My Mother by Jo Maeder


When I Married My Mother*
by Jo Maeder
  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.
I give this book a 5 out of 5.


*Since I write young adult novels, I've decided to add a mark to specify a more mature novel. Most books I feature are Christian (though some are not), but some are intended for an older audience. So if you're under 18, consult your parents before reading these picks.

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