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The Worst Day of My Life, So Far

3.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  696 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
In The Worst Day of My Life, So Far, acclaimed novelist M. A. Harper takes us into the complex mind of Jeanne Roth, a middle-aged woman forced to return to a home state she'd rather forget. An unlikely caretaker, Jeanne must come to terms with a past filled with the shadows of her mother--a once vibrant femme fatale now suffering from Alzheimer's. As she watches her mother ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 26th 2002 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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Dec 17, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, caregiving
The heroine of this novel is a full-time caregiver for her mother, who has Alzheimer's. It was touted as funny, but I couldn't laugh at the story of my worst nightmare. I think caregivers will read this and nod their heads and hopefully appreciate the acknowledgement of their completely desperate situation. The story itself was interesting, just the story of a family and their relationships with each other, spouses and exes. The illness and caregiving were just part of the larger family story. I ...more
Dec 19, 2015 Jude rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So many bad days, so much hilarious black humor

I love this author and this book that is so realistic about caring for a parent with Alzheimer's. I've loved black humor since I first worked in an outpatient clinic at a large hospital. It's a not-so-nice but very effective way of dealing with situations that might otherwise make one cry.

The protagonist grew from a woman who hated her lot in life and her mother's past treatment of her to a woman who let the past slide and loved the good that she c
Ron Kramer
Jan 05, 2016 Ron Kramer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of the Worst Books I ever read!

"I hate my life." "I want my freedom." "Feel sorry for me." You just read this book. AWFUL! Not funny, just repetitive.
Dolores Ann Sams
Nightmare of Alzheimer's

I can relate so closely with Jeanne. My mother is a victim of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. I am her caregiver, but unlike Jeanne one of my brothers helps. It is strange how the more you need people the more they desert you. There is no life beyond care-giving. Just the simple act of grocery shopping becomes a mini vacation. My mother is 96 and medically she is in better shape than I, but I intend to care for her as long as possible.
Susan Hampson
Jan 01, 2016 Susan Hampson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful story, thought provoking, sad and so very realistic. This is Jeanne's story, that of a parent with Alzheimer's. The endless, thankless, sleepless days and nights that roll into one, the loneliness and heartbreak, the worry and danger. Seeing the woman that brought you up and you call mother no longer recognise you, but sees people that are dead, she can't even remember how to use toilet paper. A mother that was proud and beautiful. There is no hope, no help, no cure.
The author
Feb 04, 2016 Judie rated it it was amazing
Taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s is not easy. It can be especially difficult when the person has played a major role in your life, primarily a negative one. But in THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE, SO FAR, M.A. Harper manages to explore the experiences of Jeanne who returned home to Auletta, Louisiana, to help with her mother as the disease takes away more and more of her identity and does it with honesty, wit, and a philosophic bent. She sees the disease as a personhood loss, not a memory loss ...more
Sonnet Fitzgerald
Dec 21, 2015 Sonnet Fitzgerald rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book. The writing itself was good, had excellent flow, and was easy to get into. The main characters seemed authentic and the scenes definitely had a ring of real experience to them. I can only give it two stars though due to some significant issues.

So small it's almost not worth mentioning: The author names the in-laws Sid and Nancy unironically. Mental picture!

Minor quibble: Maybe this is a holdover from the setting in the 80s, but there was a lot - a LOT - of
Nov 23, 2015 Corielle rated it really liked it
Ooh, this book packs an emotional punch that left me reeling, but unable to put it down. I read the entire thing in one night. Woke up the next morning with what felt like a hangover.

The Worst Day of My Life, So Far stars Jeanne Roth, who at the age of 40, has returned to her shitty little hometown to care for her mother, who was never very nice to her even before the Alzheimer's set in. Jeanne is divorced, lonely, jobless and unhappy. Her mother alternates between a state of childlike feeblenes
Melissa Pearson
Dec 16, 2015 Melissa Pearson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
sad but inspiring

I gave this book five stars because it was so true to life and written with honesty. Thankfully I haven't gone through the horror of Alzheimer's. I never thought I would say this, but I'm glad my mom passed two years ago because she didn't have to go through this mind-numbing disease, which ran in her family. Thank you M.A. Harper.
Ellen Peterson
Depressing and Disappointing...

A long winded, repetitive, poor me story
which I found humorless... even if every
thought was approached from three or
four directions in an effort to squeeze out
something humorous about divorce, Alzheimers,
or being gay.

The book ended abruptly with no solutions or
revelations, leaving the reader hanging...

Sep 03, 2008 Jackie rated it really liked it
This book was I have read a lot of books in my life and this one is absolutely amazing. From start to finish I was so into this book that I never wanted to put it down and found myself almost burning food and get back to work late from lunch due loosing track of time. It is an amazing story of a woman who felt she never fit in with her beautiful families life, who gave up everything she did have to take care of her mother how is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. There were times when I hated h ...more
Mar 14, 2013 Dlhmoore rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel
I chose this book because the author is from New Orleans and she shows many scenes in the city. I had the feeling that it was a memoir of sorts, but the author doesn't confirm that.

The story profiles a young woman who was part of the hippie world of the 60's. Her rebellion and life style was well portrayed. She then gets older, marries, makes a mess of marriage and child rearing. She is then called "home" as her mother is ill with Alzheimer's. She moves into the house in a fictional town called
Jen Mendeck
Jul 01, 2008 Jen Mendeck rated it liked it
This book is scary, especially if you have a history of Alzheimers in your family like me. Maybe it was a little bit too much realism for me. You'd hope that after reading through chapters of uncomfortable suffering there would be a life lesson or affirming thought at the end, but the book ends abruptly with little sense of anything accomplished except surving through a trying experience.

I hope I don't have to make the protagonist's decision: wrench my only surviving parent from the familiarity
Barbara L. Rose
Dec 31, 2015 Barbara L. Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone dealing with a loved ones mental decline should read this

Very well developed characters dealing with the unspoken problems of family dysfunction and decline. This book inspires thought on a serious subject with just enough humor to keep it interesting. I definitely recommend.
S Reinarz
Dec 28, 2015 S Reinarz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never saw this as humorous, but as a truth telling experience for all those called back to care for a parent with Alzheimer's. It is remarkably well-written, and details the ways we all try to escape our family ties, only to recognize how tightly tied they are. Superb!
Marji Morris
Jan 08, 2016 Marji Morris rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It started on a light-hearted note, and as the novel unfurled it drew me in more and more. The main character is a middle aged woman coming to terms with her life when her father dies. She has to return home to Louisiana to care for her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's. As her mother declines, Jeanne is increasingly trapped in her childhood home. It's a compelling read and a realistic look at the life of a caregiver. Funny and deadly serious at the same time. ...more
Robin Wright Gunn
Jan 23, 2009 Robin Wright Gunn rated it it was amazing
This novel, set in a dead end town in Louisiana, is the first person account of a woman caring for her mother who has Alzheimer's. It is written as if it is her diary plus a manual for people who may be in this situation, and despite the depressing-sounding premise, has some hilarious moments and is a page turner.

It seems apparent that the author speaks at least in part from her own experience or has done some incredible research.

I didn't like the first chapter, at first it seemed a little "Ya Y
Jul 28, 2009 Kael rated it liked it
Having had a grandmother who suffered through Alzheimers and a grandfather who was with her every step of the way as primary caregiver, I found a few moments in the story that pained me at the thought of what they both must have been feeling (or not feeling) during those later years. I struggled, however, with the ending, which I felt came far too abruptly. There was not enough resolution for me, just as there is not enough, or any, resolution for the families of Alzheimers patients. A key inten ...more
Sep 12, 2010 Doris rated it really liked it
A really fine novel, exceptionally well written, very humorous, and yet very hard to take. A middle aged woman whose marriage has ended (her husband cheated), and her father has recently died, returns home (near New Orleans) to care for her mother, suffering from Alzheimers. She and her beautiful, strong-willed mother have had a difficult relationship and as she struggles to survive (mostly just barely) as a caretaker she must come to terms with their past. Any reader that has faced a similar si ...more
Apr 28, 2009 Mich rated it liked it
after reading reviews here i wasnt too sure about this book. i liked it.i would give it an 'almost' 4 star rating if it were possible.
the main charaacter is a 40 something woman who grew up with 'issues' regarding her mother. the woman ends up moving back home to care for her mom who now has alzheimers. i think it was a very honest book, even tho several have tho't she was whining a lot.
there were many places i could relate to what the woman was feeling thats for sure-maybe thats why i liked it
madonna stands schell
A surprise

I started this book with no knowledge of the content, I liked the title. I am so glad I read the story.

Dec 24, 2015 Leticia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Supposedly a true account of living with a mom who has Alzheimer as a middle aged divorcee, it was okay, and sad, but not rivtingly interesting.
Dec 27, 2015 Halina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think anyone who has parents suffering from cognitive issues with aging will appreciate this book. She write lovingly about her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's, yet the realities and frustrations of how serious this disease is rings true throughout this book. The humor she uses takes the edge off the very uncomfortable situations that (realistically) occur with aging parents. The ending is a bit sketchy ...what really happened to her mother? Maybe the next book will explore that?
Brenda Roberson
THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE SO FAR is about a daughter who is caring for her Mother who has Alzheimer's. The novel asks the reader to also consider the oftentimes related themes of failed marriage, frustrated parenting, ethical decision-making and complete despair.

Jeanne Buchanan Roth has multiple nightmares of caring for her mother whose ability to function is permanently reduced by mental deterioration. Jeanne's doubt of her care giving, emotional isolation and personal lack of inner peace is ver
Jan 02, 2016 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a very well-written look into the burden of caring for an Alzheimer's patient. The protagonist is believable and the situations are depressingly familiar to anyone who has dealt with someone suffering from Alzheimer's. I did not find it an uplifting read in any way, in fact it was sufficiently depressing that I almost didn't finish the book. I think, however, that it really is worth reading and is a very thought provoking novel.
Millie Russom
Dec 28, 2015 Millie Russom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I could relate to this story because of my late husband. I liked the humor and advice in this book.
Donna Dunn
Jan 16, 2016 Donna Dunn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bittersweet, funny in parts. Honest expression of difficulties living with and caring for a parent with Alzheimer's.
Feb 08, 2016 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very compelling. Funny, sad, ironic - sort of the kitchen sink. I am glad I read it until the end. It is one of those books that make me pause and wonder if I should keep reading. The ending was startling but at the same time left me wanting more. How did it all work out for the characters? I think I need another book.
Jan 05, 2016 pdarnold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A ride that many people can relate to. I, in the last year, began caring for an elderly uncle who's mind has declining memory and functioning ability. Although not in the advanced state as Jeanne's mother within this story, it's still a frightening and seemingly impossible lonely commitment. I laughed, cried, and shook my head in agreement or understanding. Life seems to telescope down into tunnel vision. Struggling with unwilling or unable family members to give a hand. The decent into chaotic ...more
May 09, 2013 Marie rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book - the humor is great - nothing thats going to have you laughing to tears or anything, just the author being witty when there really is not any other way to be.
Velma reminds me of my good friends mother and I began to wonder if any of this will replay to me in real life later on...
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M. A. Harper drew pictures all during her childhood and was pretty good at it, but none of them seemed complete without a caption. When she went to Tulane University to study art, her professors praised her technical ability but labeled her an "illustrator". Wrong. She was really a novelist. Her books have been named to the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program as well as the BookS ...more
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“To paraphrase the disappeared Jimmy Hoffa, who certainly didn’t go down in history for his foolish worries: “Eighty-five percent of what you worry about won’t ever come to pass. And you can always deal with that other fifteen percent.” Of course, look what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.” 0 likes
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