Sunday, March 22, 2015

Someone Not Really Her Mother by Harriet Scott Chessman

I picked up Someone Not Really Her Mother in the bargain bin at a book store, and to be honest, I was not ready for the subject, which is about 3 generations of females in a family and how they are dealing with the Matriarch of the family and her dementia.

This book to be really well written, and forces one to have their tissues handy.  The Matriarch, Hannah is a survivor of World War II and the Nazi invasion of her home Country of France. She is the only one in her family who survived the Nazi invasion.  Her father puts her on a boat to America to live with family friends.  Hannah had her daughter on the boat to America and as it turns out her beau, and father of the child died before the baby was born.

All of this accumulates in Hannah's memories which appear to flood her mind as she sways back and forth between the present and the past.  Her dementia affects her and her family, especially her daughter, Miranda, who learns more about her mother than she realizes she ever knew.  Miranda is often the one who becomes involved in conversations with Hannah, who thinks Miranda is either a helpful stranger or a long dead family member.

I like this book because it gives a sympathetic eye  into the mind of an elderly person with Dementia.  The reader has the ability to see into the unknown.  In a way it made me a bit uncomfortable, because no one really knows what goes on in the mind of someone with Dementia.  This novel gave me that opportunity.  I applaud the author in taking on this issue, and hope that those who read the book get as much out of thinking about their own aging, morality and family, as I did.

 At forty years of age it is more often that I find myself reminiscing about being twenty one than thinking about growing old(er).  To be honest it is because I really want to avoid the idea of dementia and physically becoming incompetent and needing to rely on family for all my needs.  This book put all those issues in front of me and made me come into contact with a story of what families have to deal with.  I highly recommend.   ****

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