Saturday, 9 December 2017

Feeding My Mother

Author: Jann Arden
Genre: Memoir, Cookbook, Canadian
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Random House Canada
First Published: November 21, 2017
First Line: "I remember the first day it happened."

Book Description from GoodReadsBased on her hugely popular Facebook posts and Instagram photos, Feeding My Mother is a frank, funny, inspirational and piercingly honest account of the transformation in Jann Arden's life that has turned her into the primary "parent" to her mom, who is in the grip of Alzheimer's.

Jann Arden moved in to a house just across the way from her parents in rural Alberta to be close to them but also so they could be her refuge from the demands of the music business and a performing career. Funny how time works. Since her dad died in 2015, Jann cooks for her mom five or six times a week. Her mom finds comfort in her daughter's kitchen, not just in the delicious food but also just sitting with her as she cooks. And Jann finds some peace in caring for her mom, even as her mom slowly becomes a stranger. "If you told me two years ago that I'd be here," Jann writes, "I wouldn't have believed it. And yet we still fall into so much laughter, feel so much insane gladness and joy. It's such a contrast from one minute to the next and it teaches me constantly: it makes me stronger and more humble and more empathetic and caring and kind." 

The many people who are dealing with a loved one who is losing it will find inspiration and strength in Jann's wholehearted, loving response and her totally Jann take on the upside-down world of a daughter mothering her mother. Feeding My Mother is one heck of an affirmation that life just keeps on keeping on, and a wonderful example of how you have to roll with it.

Disclaimer: This book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review: When I think of Jann Arden I think of one of my favourite singer/songwriters who also has an awesome sense of humour. She seems like a regular Canadian gal who just happens to have a cool job. I have enjoyed seeing her perform live twice, currently have her Christmas album on repeat and continue to be entertained by her funny tidbits on social media. 

As a songwriter Jann is used to sharing her feelings but this time she makes it even more personal. With this memoir/cookbook, she takes us into her home and opens up about her relationship with her parents, especially her mother as she struggles with Alzheimer's. Jann is candid about her feelings and anyone who has had a loved one with Alzheimer's will empathize with Jann's feelings of helplessness, frustration, fear and sadness. But Jann (and her mother) also show their unrelenting spirit to persevere and find love and laughs in even the smallest of moments. Hopefully readers who have experienced Alzheimer's in their families will find a sense of healing, validation and comfort reading this book.  But it is equally important for those not yet touched by dementia/Alzheimer's as it gives a candid look at how this disease encompasses the entire family.

Feeding My Mother is a touching and inspiring read that chronicles the Arden family's journey with Alzheimer's. Along with some of her favourite recipes, this book is filled with hope and the importance of perseverance and is told with heart, honesty and her signature Canadian humour. 

Favourite Quotes: "I corrected her once and then caught myself when she was talking about it again: why do I need to tell her where she is and what she is on? I have to stop being the memory police, stop needing to be right all the time. It's exhausting and completely selfish." 

"Mom said to me the other day, "You always seem mad at me, Jann. .. " I died a little inside after she let that sentence fall out of her mouth. I told her I wasn't mad, that I was just caught off guard with this new version of her."

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