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When I Married My Mother: A Daughter's Search for What Really Matters - And How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo
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When I Married My Mother: A Daughter's Search for What Really Matters - And How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,715 Ratings  ·  245 Reviews
Jo Maeder was an ambitious DJ in New York City when she did the unthinkable: she moved to the Bible Belt to look after her frail, estranged mother, who had long been a source of intense frustration. Maeder's tumultuous journey from simply living with "Mama Jo" to learning to truly love her not only changed Maeder's life, but also was the catalyst for pulling her long-fract ...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published April 6th 2013 by Vivant Press
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If you are caring for an elderly parent, if you are a daughter, if you have had a difficult relationship with a parent, if you are at a stand still in your this! I think everyone would benefit from reading this thoughtful and thought provoking memoir of Mama Jo. It will open your eyes (and your heart) to see what is really important in life.

Jo Maeder takes the reader on a delightful, witty and often wobbly journey as she uproots her life to take care of her Mother and ends up fi
A late entry to my favorites of what I read in 2012! This book was an incredibly moving personal story about a daughter making the tough choice to leave her career to care for her aging mother full time. A love story of sorts, the book follows the journey as mother and daughter get to know and appreciate each other again. Jo’s transition from the fast-paced life of New York City to North Carolina provided many moments of humor. The book is packed with lovely moments of realization and wonderful ...more
Cindy Hudson
Apr 20, 2010 Cindy Hudson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a successful Manhattan radio DJ, Jo Maeder led what many would consider a glamorous New York City life. Yet when it became increasingly clear that her mother could no longer live on her own in the home she owned in Virginia, Jo made a choice to leave the city and move with her mother to North Carolina, where they would be near her brother and his new wife.

While that’s the basic story behind When I Married My Mother: A Daughter’s Search for What Really Matters—and How She Found It Caring for M
May 10, 2012 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As many of our generation find that we are parenting the very people we were raised by, this story offers a look at what reconciliation can give back to us. Becoming her mother's caregiver seems to have made whole the family Maeder lost in the years spent accomplishing her career. And in the telling, she forges a new vision for herself as an author. At first, it seems that their lives might be polar opposites: Jo Maeder had made a name for herself in radio in the Northeast, but her elderly mothe ...more
Judy Seguin
Mar 27, 2014 Judy Seguin rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading this book and tears are flowing as I knew they would. They are tears of joy that I had a mom who "when given the choice to sit it out or dance" ... danced, and shared that dance with me. She passed away march 14th and although she didn't live with me, I have been (and now realize how blessed I was) significantly involved in her ongoing care for the past 5 years. I purchased this book several months ago and without knowing what the storyline actually was, picked it up two ...more
Jo Maeder
Jun 15, 2014 Jo Maeder rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
The 2014 ebook and paperback versions have bonus material that includes a Q&A, Mama Jo's Favorite Cookie award-winning recipe, caregiving tips, discussion questions, and two videos. For more reviews here, search for the hardcover version. Thank you! I appreciate your feedback.
Nelda Williams
Jun 15, 2015 Nelda Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
when I married My Mother

This is a wonderful book, I am 83 years old and can associate with Jo and her mother as I have to depend on my daughter to help me out too. These happens are so real for daily lives of old people. Please read this book !!
Susie Lindeberg
Jan 12, 2016 Susie Lindeberg rated it it was amazing
I knew I wanted to read this book. But I had to wait until I thought I could handle it emotionally. My mother passed away two months shy of her 95th birthday in 2012. And it has been difficult for me to adjust to her loss. About the first half of the book describes a disconnected relationship between mother & daughter, which was not my situation. But the last half of the book resonated with me and I think would resonate with any daughter who was in a care giving capacity for her mother. My m ...more
Janet Eshenroder
Feb 15, 2015 Janet Eshenroder rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A-MAZ-ING!!! This is one of those books that should be required reading. I am taking it upon myself to get several out to family and friends as gifts. It has a message, one I feel is greatly important and soooo greatly overlooked.
This book is hilarious and at the same time completely touching. I don't think I have ever laughed so much while reading any book, and this one has some pretty severe issues attached. It seems, American culture drowns out the issues of the elderly. We never speak of it
Jan 30, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing
I read this for the memoir category of the Popsugar 2015 challenge. In a nutshell, it's about a woman who leaves her long-time home and glamorous job as a DJ in New York to move to Greensboro NC and share a house with her elderly mother. They've basically been estranged for years, and her mother is developing dementia, has been living alone in Richmond, and is such a horrific hoarder that her house has rooms they can't open the doors to, and is about to be condemned. It's a funny and sweet book, ...more
Jan 30, 2016 Jane rated it it was amazing
If you are caring for an elderly relative, this book will buoy your spirits! Jo Maeder tells the story of her caregiving journey with raw honesty and tenderness. She finds herself almost to mid-life, single, and on-the-hook to take care of her aging mother who has Alzheimer's. Reluctant, but dutiful, Jo is all in. Her commitment is inspiring and instructive! Her relationship with her mother has not been idyllic, and her relationship with her brother is stilted. As she cares for her mother, all t ...more
Lisa McDowell
Jan 08, 2015 Lisa McDowell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So very good in so many ways

I would recommend this well written book to anyone with parents. Most of us at one point or another will have to deal with an elder parent that requires care. Reading this brought some great memories I had of caring for my dad as he passed from cancer and then helping mom navigate being alone for the next 13 years until she passed. I learned so much from my mom about her, my dad, their time dating, etc that my much older brother and sisters didn't know about.
Jo has i
Miranda Atchley
When I Married My Mother is a non-fiction book based on Jo Maeder's experience caring for her mother who suffered from dementia.

Growing up, Jo never felt close with her mother, whom she called Mama Jo. After her parents' divorce, Jo moved to Florida with her father and brother, Mama Jo letting them go with seemingly little fight. The two kept a distant and cool relationship, Jo moving to New York to become a radio DJ after college and Mama Jo remaining in Virginia. When Jo's brother remarries in
Kathe Dimeo Coleman
Jan 11, 2015 Kathe Dimeo Coleman rated it it was amazing
Jo Maeder gave up her successful career as a New York City DJ in order to care for her aging mother in Greensborro Mama Jo was a hoarder and after living for decades on her own the house was crammed with miscellaneous junk along with an extensive doll collection. The stress builds as she must clear out the house, sell it and build a new home that accommodates her mother’s needs while still providing Maeder a home base operation for her voice over work as a DJ. She organizes home aides, doctors a ...more
Feb 19, 2013 Bronna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe it's because I'm experiencing a lot of these issues from care taking my 86 year old mother for 3 years now in my home or maybe it's because this was a wonderfully written book, but it was a "I cannot put it down" read for me.

Of course, not only did I identify with the care taking portion of the book but I also happened to be born in Winston-Salem NC and still reside in a nearby town called Belews Creek NC. It was so very interesting to me to read how someone from Manhatten saw so many inte
Mar 09, 2013 Judie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jo Maeder, age 47, divorced and living in New York City, earned her living as a DJ on a radio station that catered to younger listeners and doing voice overs. One day she received a telephone call from her brother Arthur, with whom she was not particularly close, asking her to come to Greensboro, North Carolina, for his wedding and to bring their mother, Mama Jo, who lived in Virginia, with her.
Their relationship with their mother was strained. Their parents had divorced when they were teenage
Jul 17, 2013 Nicole rated it it was amazing
When I Married My Mother
By: Jo Maeder

One New Yorker DJ and one elderly, aging woman living in the heart of the Bible-loving south are being reunited thanks to life. Jo decides to leave her home to head south to care for her mother, despite all of her friends and family begging her not to go. Looking back now, Jo would never change those final few years with her mom, since that short time taught her more about life than she had ever learned before.

This is an emotional tale of a woman coming to te
Dec 03, 2011 Gerri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book!!Parts of the Book I could relate to about Jo's experience of coming to North Carolina from a Big City. Hysterical on all Levels!!. Heart warming shares on her life with her Mama and how she cared for her.
Jo Maeder worked with my first husband Earl at two different radio stations as on air personalities and every time I got the chance to be around her I felt a kinship. I look forward to reconnecting with her now that we are back in the same state again!! and about an hour and a
Carol Arnold
Aug 29, 2015 Carol Arnold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a true story about a dysfunctional family and how they were able to overcome obstacles and learn to love each other. The author, Jo Madder, was the daughter who ended up caring for and loving her aging mother. She wrote in a light and amusing way of the trials and joys that they experienced. Jo learned to love and appreciate the woman who gave her life, not to just merely tolerate her as she had for years. Her mother became her best friend.
Rebecca Wilkins
Jan 05, 2015 Rebecca Wilkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Precious memories

Jo and her mother shared so many of the same things my mom & I shared. Since moms passing, I now have those memories to share with my dad. Everyone should read this, what a joy to know others have felt the same ups, downs, joy & heartache loving and caring for an aging parent, and being there at the moment of passing.
Christine Cruso
Aug 03, 2014 Christine Cruso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for any caregiver

A must read for any caregiver

A heartwarming story of a daughter, successfully leading her own life, whose life is turned upside down in order to care for her declining mother. Her life is transformed in all ways imaginable and though there are challenges, all of the life changes are for the best. She builds a closer relationship with her mother, seeing her through new eyes and with a newfound appreciation. She details the struggles she encounters while caring for her
Feb 20, 2015 Scot rated it liked it
I didn't like this book, at first. The narrator, a 47 year old New York City-based divorced woman who worked as a DJ/voice artist in the world of radio, came off as a bit too self-absorbed, rather whiney and demanding, although I believe she thought she would be interpreted as a witty, hip urbanite. Therefore, her complaints about her oddball mother, a notorious hoarder and creepy doll collector, didn't matter to me that much. However, I have to give the author credit, for as the memoir progress ...more
Mimi Herrmann
May 16, 2015 Mimi Herrmann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story about caring for an elderly parent

Jo Maeder is a wonderful writer who had a wonderful mom, but didn't know it until almost too late. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone, and especially others with elderly parents.
Jul 18, 2015 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grab tissue and be prepared not to be able to put this book down.....

I laughed,I cried,I was happy ,sad,confused,angry,all thru this book. This book truly will run you thru the gamut of emotions. I'm going to miss Mamma Jo and Jo now that the book is done.
Rita Arnson
Jan 09, 2015 Rita Arnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unexpectedly insightfful

I expected this book to be light hearted and funny. It was but so much more. My mother is not a hoarder but at a point in her life where she may need more care. This book really opened my eyes and heart to what a special time that can be.
Oct 14, 2014 Corina rated it really liked it
I almost stopped reading it altogether. At first, I did not find the writer (this is a true story so the writer was also the main character) to be engaging and was really put off but I put it down for awhile then came back to it. I'm glad I did. It turned out to be a very interesting and even inspirational read.

When Jo takes on the task of moving from her New York home to North Carolina to take care of her ill and aging mother with whom she never got along, interesting things happen to both wome
Sara Steger
Aug 13, 2015 Sara Steger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has cared for or might care for an elderly parent
Shelves: memoir
An interesting account of Jo Maeder's decision to care for her aging (and ultimately dying) mother. She relocates from New York to North Carolina and changes her life in every way possible in order to take care of Mama Jo. What she discovers is that she gets as much from her mother as she gives. She is given the rare chance to get to know a person only a moment before it is too late.

The book was an easy read, with some laughter to lighten the inevitable sadness. It made me so glad that I always
Kellie J Rosas
Jan 04, 2015 Kellie J Rosas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good Read

I had an awesome relationship with my own mother when she was alive and miss her everyday. To be given one more day to love her..

Jul 13, 2015 Ginna rated it really liked it
Sweet and funny.
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Jo Maeder went from being a rockin' New York City DJ to a Bible Belt caregiver for her estranged, hoarder, doll-obsessed "Mama Jo." An incredible love story followed. WHEN I MARRIED MY MOTHER, her hilarious and heartfelt chronicle of it, became a best-seller.But she's still a DJ at heart. That could explain the lavender hair. Her latest novel, NAKED DJ, draws on her radio career and all its shenan ...more
More about Jo Maeder...

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“We are the only life form that can bring a purpose to our lives. It doesn’t make sense to strive and strive and then die without any meaning to it.” 1 likes
“No matter how much our bodies may age, the heart never grows old.” 1 likes
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