Thursday, June 28, 2018

Jan Arden's Feeding My Mother Book Review

Jan Arden's Feeding My Mother Book Review
I do it too often. That is, pick up a book without a true appreciate of what I am about to read. Jann Arden's Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss definitely fits that bill. I picked it up because it was written by a wonderful Canadian music artist and because my mother is experiencing some memory issues right now.

Feeding My Mother turned out to be a series of diary or journal-style entries written over a period of a few years while Arden tried to continue working in the music industry and care for her ailing parents. What I expected was information about memory loss; what I did not expect was the diary style of writing or the recipes. I did expect and receive heartbreak, which is definitely on the menu when a loved one disappears in this manner. It is not really a book to turn to for information about Alzheimer's disease but rather one to read to understand one family's struggles to deal with their situation.

It is a nicely put together book with pictures; caring and sharing; family, pets and lots of love; tears but also much laughter; and with a few simple recipes, some of which I may return to. This book was crafted from (apparently) popular Facebook and Instagram posts that Arden wrote during her journey. I believe that she handled her parental situation as best as she could, something we can all aspire to do if and when we become caregivers for our parents. As Arden says, it is not easy becoming a mother to your mother.

Jann Arden

Arden is an accomplished Canadian singer songwriter who has won eight Juno awards and been nominated for a total of eighteen. She has also written three books. This one plus If I Knew, Don't You Think I'd Tell You and Falling Backwards: A Memoir. Another couple of books for our reading lists.

You can hear Arden discuss Feeding My Mother on CBC Radio by clicking right here. They call the book a cookbook, which I disagree with though it does have a few recipes. If you picked this book up thinking it was a cookbook, you would be disappointed. It is more correctly categorized as a biographical book about Alzheimer's disease and patient care.

Do I Recommend Feeding My Mother? 

Yes, I do recommend Feeding My Mother. It is definitely of interest to someone who is dealing with a family member with memory loss or who sees that coming in the future, as I do. However, I am uncertain if it is a book that my mother should read. I know she would appreciate the humour and the love that is found within the covers but not sure that she needs to really think and worry about all of the situations found in this book. What do you think? Should I give my mother this book to read or not?  Have you read Feeding My Mother? Have you been a caregiver for someone with memory loss?

You can get your hands on a copy of Jann Arden's Feeding My Mother by ordering it from Amazon here.

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  1. Brenda, I think this book would be of help and support to anyone acting as a caregiver to someone suffering from memory loss. If I were you and my mother were in this situation, I do not think I would give the book to mom to read. My mother's best friend was given the diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease early on while she could still think such things through and the news itself was devastating enough to cope with. Reading about others may be more than mom is willing to handle. Just my opinion.

    I am sorry to hear you will soon be dealing with your mother's memory loss. Such a terrible waste to a life well lived. I hope someday they find a cure for Alzheimer's Disease.

    1. Thanks, Pat. I guess my questioning whether or not I should give this to mom was a good reason not to give it to her and your opinion is both helpful and appreciated.

  2. Alzheimers has become an all too common disease that seems to touch every family at some point. I know all too well how stressful and upsetting memory loss can be for the individual experiencing it. The struggle is so hard to watch. Once years of memory and family recognition are gone, it is extremely difficult on the family members who helplessly watch as they are forgotten.

    I am so very sorry to hear that your mom is experiencing memory issues, Brenda. I doubt this was an easy book for you to read.

    1. Thanks, Cynthia. Hopefully one day there will be a cure.

  3. I've always loved Jann Arden. She's hilarious too. It's so hard to cope with a loved one losing their memory. Can't imagine what she's been through. Well I can, but it wasn't my mother. So hard. This book sounds like a lovely premise to approach a book from, I'll have to pick it up and read it. It sounds comforting in a way.

    1. Yes, you are right Arden can be funny and yes, we all know anyone dealing with a loved one and memory loss has had a hard road to travel. Thanks for visiting, Barbara.

  4. This book has been on my to read list for a while, guess I should move it up a little and really take a good look at it. My own mother is going on 87 and right now she's pretty sharp, but I can see areas that are becoming fuzzy. I might just need some insights and maybe some humor to get me through!

  5. I've never heard of Jann Arden, at least not that I can recall. Thank you for introducing me to her and to Feeding My Mother. It sounds like a good read.

  6. I'm not familiar with Jann Arden, either, since I don't listen to music much anymore. I have been close to people who have suffered from dementia. I suspect my brilliant college roommate knew she could get it, since her father had it. I was with her when she visited him while she was in California last. She was so very patient with his memory lapses. I can only imagine how it must have hurt her to know she was going that way. Since she lived so far from me I never knew when she completely lost her memory. I had to find out later after I located her daughters on Facebook. I thought maybe she had died since I couldn't get hold of her. It crushed me when I learned the truth.

    I'm very thankful that neither of my parents or my husband's suffered this way. I hope neither of us will get into that condition. We both have the short-term lapses, but eventually we remember what we did come into that room for or where we put that lost object. So far. I don't think I'm ready for a book like this, even though it sounds interesting. But you wrote a great review.


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