Happy to report my travels are underway on the BookSparks 2015 Summer Reading Challenge.
First stop? Manhattan and The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen, author of What I Thought I Knew.
About The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen (published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill):
Thirty years after her death, Alice Eve Cohen’s mother appears to her, seemingly in the flesh, and continues to do so during the hardest year Alice has had to face: the year her youngest daughter needs a harrowing surgery, her eldest daughter decides to reunite with her birth mother, and Alice herself receives a daunting diagnosis. As it turns out, it’s entirely possible for the people we’ve lost to come back to us when we need them the most.
Buy this book: http://amzn.to/1NSKzVC
My Book Review:
Beautifully written memoir about a woman diagnosed with breast cancer attempting to reconcile a strained relationship with her mother – thirty years after her mother’s death.
“Punch it down, Honeylamb.”
Book opens with beautiful, inviting language and the memory of making bread with her mother. What follows is a triumphant story about the trials of motherhood and the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship.
I was captivated by the fluidity of the writing, the ease in which we moved from memory, to present, to moments when the author’s mother would “appear” to her during a difficult year of cancer treatment. I knew I was reading a memoir, but the author’s skill in storytelling made me wonder at times if I was reading first-person fiction. The overtly “aware” or self-conscious writing you sometimes find in a memoir was not present in this book. This was an honest account, told with great skill in storytelling and craft.
[Note: No spoiler alerts here. Anything I mention in the next paragraph is also mentioned on the book jacket.]
Heartbreaking were the glimpses into her mother’s complicated experience with breast cancer and depression; a provocative tribute into how treatment has changed in just one generation. Heartbreaking were the glimpses into her daughter Eliana’s leg surgery, Eliana’s feelings of being different, and Alice’s guilt (and anger) for circumstances surrounding Eliana’s birth. Heartbreaking were the glimpses of Alice as she struggles to reconcile the complexities of her relationship with her mother while also mourning her mother’s death. All this, during a crazy difficult time in Alice’s life, medically speaking, not to mention, a crazy difficult time emotionally as it relates to new developments in her adopted daughter’s life.
This beautifully written memoir left me joyful and in tears; a great way to end a book. A triumphant piece of work that glorifies the power of mothers and daughters. No matter what happens, no matter the distance or years, no matter the journey – you always need your mom. Always.
Find out how it all began: READ 5th Annual BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge and My Travels Have Begun!
1. The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen
2. The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek
3. Wishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff
4. The Balance Project by Susie Orman Schnall
5 . Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
6. Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde
7. Pieces by Maria Kostaki
8. Summer Secrets by Jane Green
9. It’s You by Jane Porter
10. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
11. Beautiful Girl by Fleur Philips
12. The Road Home by Kathleen Shoop
13. The Witch of Bourbon Street by Suzanne Palmieri
14. Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
15. Anchored by Brigitte Quinn
16. Satisfaction by Andee Reilly
17. A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
18. Star Craving Mad by Elise Miller
Thank you, BookSparks!