Original review posted here
I struggled with this memoir. Granted, I should have known I’d struggle with it – the subject matter was just so hard.
Christine Hartmann is a strong woman. I don’t know that I could have done what she did. She builds the story over a period of about ten years, but the psychological impact her mother had on her lasted longer than that. Can you imagine? Living with the knowledge that your mother plans to die by suicide? I can’t.
This book inspired a good, heartfelt talk between me and my parents which essentially started with, “Look, I know you don’t want to lose your dignity as you get older, but I’m here to help you as you age. I like you around, and I don’t want to lose you before your time.” And that was something that needed to be said. I know I would not have the strength to hug my mother, who is perfectly healthy, and walk away with the knowledge that I won’t see her again.
I really struggled with Christine Hartmann’s decisions throughout the book, and I was glad to see that, toward the end, these decisions are finally challenged in a way that they needed to be. I wont’ give more information then that, but I do feel that it’s vital to know that there is a reason to keep reading – even though the subject matter seems to drag you down deeper and deeper into this horrible muck.
I admire Hartmann as well – for putting this story down on paper. I hope it helps to heal her, and I hope the bad memories fade over time until all she can remember are the good ones.