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The Seasons of My Mother: A Memoir of Love, Family, and Flowers

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  376 ratings  ·  63 reviews
In this lyrical and deeply moving memoir, one of America’s most revered actresses weaves stories of her adventures and travels with her mother, while reflecting on the beautiful spirit that persists even in the face of her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Marcia Gay Harden knew at a young age that her life would be anything but ordinary. One of five lively childr
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Atria Books
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Elyse  Walters
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Library Audiobook, read by Marcia
Gay Harden

Marcia Gay Harden’s mother has Alzheimer’s Disease. Both she and her mother have are living with Alzheimer’s.

Marcia said she wrote this book to preserve her mother’s memories.
Well, let me say: “mission accomplished”! I know more about Marcia’s mother than my own mother.

I’ll never be able to even hear the ‘word’, *Mayday*, without thinking about the tradition of Mayday in Marcia’s family.
I bet I’ll associate the art of Japanese flower arranging - Ike
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fiercely loving and tender tribute to Marcia Gay Harden's mother, remembering for her and for us what Alzheimer's has stolen, filling those darkened holes with compassion, acceptance, beauty, and love. I loved how vulnerable and honest her writing is, the wonderful sensory details she includes--LOL-this is why she's a great actress! :) I savored every page and didn't want it to end. ...more
Jennifer Blankfein
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
In The Seasons of My Mother, Well known actress from stage and screen, Marcia Gay Harden, tells the story of her life in the context of memories she has with her mother. Their close relationship is so beautiful and all the more painful as her mother's memory fades with the effects of Alzheimer's Disease. Their mother-daughter bond is unbreakable and based on love, and due to the progression of the disease and the author's fear that all would be forgotten, it became imperative that stories were r ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a tough read for me. Being in Alzheimer's grip can make me want to put my fingers in my ears and sing LALALALALALA!, as if I can magically make it all go away. Like Harden, my mother has Alzheimers and it takes a little more of her day by day. Harden beautifully describes to us who her mother was before the disease stole her memories. She takes us through the stages of her life, the changes, the hardships, the triumphs. We learn her mother's strengths, talents, what is most important to ...more
Chantal Houle
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked the book. It's well written in a simple and direct language.
However, to me, it often felt as a "pretty white world" where everybody's happy and
prosperous. It became a bit repetitive until the inevitable arrives. The characters seem to lack depth.
This woman was perfect wanting to live a perfect life in a perfect world. Hard to feel empathy.
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is so beautiful, in so many small, but meaningful ways that I cannot fully capture here. I recommend listening to the audio. This does what I hope all bios do when I start them: make me want to be the subject’s friend. And I feel like Harden is now a dear one. Biography & Memoir
When Marcia Gay Harden first gained notice in the Coen brothers’ film Miller’s Crossing in 1990, it was abundantly clear that there was something so unforgettable about her performance --- assuring moviegoers that they would be hearing from this actress again, and often. Over the years, from theater to film to TV, she has demonstrated something memorable in every role. And through this poignant tribute to her mother, we see where the seeds of creativity were first planted.

Growing up the middle c
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed listening to Marcia Gay Harden reading her book - what an amazing tribute to her incredible Mom. Infused with humor, gratitude and most of all love, this is a journey of reflection and appreciation for a life well lived. And I learned a lot about ikebana and flowers! I am a PT working in the long term care setting and spend much time with “the thief” of dementia, as she so aptly calls the disease - I always try to make sure I see and hear the precious person who is battling to k ...more
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
4.5 stars. Wonderful tribute by Marcia Gay Harden to her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel but I was not disappointed. The novel focuses on Marcia’s memories of her mother growing up, and the reader absolutely can feel the love, friendship and respect Marcia has for her mom. There were a couple of times when the language was too flowery, as if the author was trying to plant as many adjectives into the paragraph as possible. There is also one line ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Marcia Gay Harden
The Seasons of My Mother: A Memoir of Love, Family, and Flowers
Atria Books
Hardcover, 978-1-5011-3570-5 (also available as an e-book, an audio book, and on Audible), 336 pgs., $26.00
May 1, 2018

My mother thinks herself timid. This is incorrect. I confess to teenage contempt at what I (mis)perceived as weakness. In truth my mother was strong, knocked down by circumstances never contemplated or prepared for, and got back up, repeatedly. The most affecting passages in The Seaso
Holly Tracy
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
It’s written like a fairytale, almost. It’s not as much of a focus on Alzheimer’s as a memoir devoted to her life with her mother and how the teachings have come full circle. The grief is honest, MGH’s memories of herself and her interactions with her mom are honest even when they paint her as imperfect...she’s not afraid to show when she’s been vain or self-centered without justifying it. Everything weaves together and paints a beautiful picture that feels almost like a family memorial to memor ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
A daughter’s loving tribute to her mother. I was expecting to read more about how Alzheimer’s has affected Marcia Gay Harden’s mother Beverly but those details are mostly left out, perhaps out of respect. The early part of the book describes how Beverly blossomed from a demure young woman to a proud and well respected teacher of the Japanese art of ikebana flower arrangement. It makes me want to learn more about ikebana and I wish there had been pictures of some of Beverly’s arrangements. The se ...more
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received this one for review from NetGalley.

This was definitely not what I was expecting as far as a memoir about Alzheimer's, but I really enjoyed it. Marcia Gay Harden's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011, but the majority of the book is a beautifully written look back on her life with her mother and the impact that she has had on her life and career. She uses her mother's love of flowers and the Japanese flower arranging art of Ikebana to move the reader through the ups and down
Lacy Lynch
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
By the end it was clear that this book was written out of fear that the author would end up with Alzheimer's, lost without memory and out of love for her best friend, her mother, who suffered from this heart wrenching disease. It's the story of her life as it intertwines with her mum's.

The story itself is a touching tribute to her mother and her own life. But, having read a few books and memoirs and Alzheimer, it added nothing to the whole of the story. This is just the story from a more privil
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
The actress Marcia Gay Harden tells the story of her life, weaving in the experiences she had with her mother from childhood to now. I can't adequately say how I feel about this book. I've read glowing reviews about how profound the book is, but I didn't experience it that way myself. One review in particular noted that she'd heard an interview with Harden where she expressed that perhaps the book would help others with their care providing for a family member in decline with this terrible disea ...more
I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked certain parts, the memories and stories of Marcia's mother and their travels growing up. Some of the metaphors were so descriptive, especially those based in nature, the seasons, flowers and the art of ikebana. I didn't care much for the show business stuff, to me, it came off as stilted and presumptuous.

This is a hard subject to write about, losing one's mother to Alzheimer's disease. Marcia Gay Harden does so with grace, as I think her mother would
Holly Joy
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely Book to Read and Listen

I, too, lost my beautiful, intelligent mother-&-my-best-friend to Alzheimer’s. I chose to read this on the anniversary of her passing, and it was balm to my heart. What a lovely honor Marcia gives her mother, Beverly, by recalling vivid moments of them sharing wits, talents, and insights. You will want the text edition for clarity of foreign words and places, but you really must listen to Marcia Gay Harden narrate — she’s a hoot! I walked the dog extra blocks just s
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a lovely tribute of a daughter to her mother. Such an interesting live Beverly led. The love and admiration Marcia Gay Harden expresses for her mother is beautiful. I cried at the end of this book and I think that is my best review.
Darcie Morin
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely beautiful!! It’s about love and family, growing up and taking care of your parents, flowers and the symbolic meaning they carry. Marcia Gay Harden should be proud of the beautiful tribute this book is
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Obtained this copy as a gift from The Library Hotel in New York City when I showed it off to my daughter and granddaughter when we visited in June, 2018. The book was much more a memoir of the author, Marcia Harden, than of her mother, but that was okay since I've always liked Harden's acting. ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful story,I only wish there were photographs of the arrangements that Marcia supposedly made as inspiration. I think this would be a lovely film too, since a lot of it is visual. Honest account of family life in present times.
Gina McDonald
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This was not great for me although I was really interested in her story. Needed less poetry and more meat to the story.
rhonda  granquist
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Not a fan
Of this one! Marcia’s
Mother was an expert on the way of Japanese flower arrangements. I’d have liked this more if she had talked about her
Mother more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lovely tribute by actress Marcia Gay Hardin to a parent whose memory is being stolen a little bit each day by Alzheimers. Heartbreaking disease.
Elaine Reed
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written with amazing detail of a life well-lived. Although the subject matter should have made this a tough read, it was so well written I didn’t want to put it down.
Mesa Library
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a lovely memoir. Marcia wove her mother's story into her own beautifully. I was expecting there to be more about her mother's Alzheimer's but I was happy with what I got instead.
-Anna C.
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveways-won
A very touching read. I recommend this book to anyone who has a loved one who has experienced or is experiencing Alzheimer’s or who would like to read a memoir that touches on a beautiful mother daughter relationship. I had seen Marcia Gay Harden act in a few things before reading this book but had no idea about her backstory. Reading this book humanized this actress for me. So often we see celebrities and view them as separate from the rest of the “common” people, but reading how Marcia shares ...more
Ruth Woodman York
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was really torn between giving 4 or 5 stars for this. It is beautifully written, and the reader gets to know Marcia Gay Harden's mother well. I learned a lot about the art of ikebana, Japanese flower arranging. The memories that Harden shares of her childhood and the love she feels for her mother grab the reader. My only complaint, such that it is, and admittedly, a complaint I often have with stories, is that the timeline isn't fully linear. However, the way Harden writes, it doesn't feel jar ...more
This book is supposed to be about Marcia Gay Harden's mother, but it is way way more about herself. She is only a couple of years older than me, so I related to some of her childhood memories (like carefully deciding which classmate got which boxed valentine card in grade school), but I definitely got tired of her self focus.

This was chosen as a tie-in to our Big Read of When the Emperor Was Divine. I enjoyed the parts about Japan and Japanese flower arranging. We'll see how discussion goes.

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Marcia Gay Harden is an American Academy-Award winning actress.

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