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The Long Hello

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  277 ratings  ·  69 reviews
A stirring memoir of a daughter caring for a mother with dementia that is sure to become a touchstone for many others.

The Long Hello explores the emotional rewards and challenges that Cathie Borrie experienced in caring for her mother, who was living with Alzheimer’s disease, for seven years. Between the two, a wondrously poetic dialogue develops, which Ms. Borrie further
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published January 2015 by SIMON & SCHUSTER CANADA (first published August 26th 2010)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  277 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The Long Hello is a memoir about caring for a mother with Alzheimer's ... that will pierce and heal the heart." -- Lisa Genova, Author of Still Alice
Christine Bode
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Stars: 2.5

My younger sister died five months ago today from ovarian cancer at the age of 48 so it’s quite possible that I’m just not in the right frame of mood to be reading and reviewing a memoir about a woman who spent seven years caring for her mother before she died from Alzheimer’s in her late 80’s. Nonetheless, the good people at Simon & Schuster enticed me into reading The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me by Cathie Borrie by using these paragraphs to describe it:

“It explores the emo
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I feel inadequate to the task of reviewing Borrie's book. It's intense, beautiful, insightful, spiritual and profound.

She describes the space of seven years of caregiving for her mother Jo who has a mixed diagnosis of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. During that time, Borrie did much more than provide physical caregiving. She made efforts to connect with her mother on shifting ground and through the complexities of their tension-filled relationships.

Borrie's book also shows how our memories affect
Rose Elliott
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do you spend seven years caring for your aging, dying mother as Alzheimer's steals her from you, piece by piece? Honest, raw, and real, I could not put this book down for hardly even a moment. Sometimes there are perks to forgetting your headphones when you go to the gym. Full review to come.
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press
January 10, 2015

How do you take care of your mother as dementia tightens its grip? What helps you cope when you remember clearly, but she does not? And where has she gone, this mother you remember and who used to remember so much about you?

A nurse, lawyer, writer and public speaker on Alzheimer's disease, Cathie Borrie struggled with these questions and more as a caregiver to her mother Jo. Thoughtfully written and deftly composed, The Long Hello: Memory, My Mo
Anne Martin
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm sorry it did not work for me. There is something touching in the pieces the book wants to put together, but the result is not there. I wish the author would have used her talent to connect all those shattered pieces. Her mother has Alzheimer's and it is awful, though touching at the same time. People end up talking like little kids, with the same cuteness. But it does not hold a book together.
The author uses her childhood's memories to give an idea of her mother before and to speak of her br
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I bought this book from Cathie herself, got it signed and everything! Then it sat on my dresser for a few months...I think I was afraid to read it because my grandfather had Alzheimers and my mother is turning 80 this year, and I just couldn't face it.BUT, I finally got to it a few weekends ago and couldn't put it down. It's lyrical and poetic, and stark and sparse and raw and exactly what it needs to be to convey the authors experience. In such a delicate way, in only a few lines actually, she ...more
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book about the relationship between mother and daughter, their back stories and how they got along put into conversations and thoughts. Discusses how she cared for her mother who had Alzheimer's. Easy read.
Dec 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Not at all what I expected.

Interesting perspective, but can't say I recommend it.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The story is both sweeping and wonderfully detailed, joyful and sad and bittersweet, and the author's love of and closeness to her mother shines through everything. The audio narration, by the author as herself and Jill (Eikenberry) Tucker as her mother, is the icing on top of a delicious, rich cake.
Diane Secchiaroli

Interesting account of a woman’s last weeks with her mother who is dying of Alzheimer’s. The mother who is 86/sometimes recognizes her daughter, but also lives in the past. The daughter ‘s frustration and desperation are clearly evident. A compelling account of the life of a caretaker.
Mala Ashok
Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This memoir details the author's caring for her mother through seven years of memory loss due to Alzheimers. Cathie shows remarkable patience and fortitude in dealing with her mother, Jo. Jo in turn shows lucidity at times. With more and more of us heading towards the caregiver role, this is a useful book to read.
Chris Glasoe
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What it must be like...

This is how I would imagine life to be like taking care of a parent who is fading away. Some of her descriptions in the book are brilliant...her use of words in the descriptions is clever and so spot on.
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cathie Borrie's poetic, lyrical voice mixed with quotidian detail and dark humor makes The Long Hello a refreshingly readable book about a tough subject. I couldn't put it down.
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Trudy Jaskela
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book and I did not bond. Too disjointed, too sparse, I didn't get the depth of , what likely was, the situation.
Lori Bamber
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful prose poem of grief, forgiveness, compromises, dementia, love and humanness. And a new kind of map for surviving the dementia of a loved one through curiosity, wonder and willingness.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful. Poetic. Cried throughout. It’s so human and her account is generous and emphatic. I hope to be as good when the time comes.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a good book, a tearjerker though!
Em Schrtr
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captivating and heart wrenching account of a mother daughter relationship through Alzheimer's.
Caroline Woodward
The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me

This is a beautifully written, heart-breaking book. The author became her mother's main caregiver for seven years while the latter suffered with Alzheimer's disease. In spare, poetic language, much is revealed about the restless daughter, obviously bright and with a fistful of advanced degrees (nursing, health administration, law) and passionate interests (dance, writing, travel), the tragic childhood loss of her only sibling, an alcoholic father who is a
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book through Goodreads First Read program, so I thought I would share my thoughts (which were not required as a condition of receiving the book.) Right off the bat I knew that I was going to like this book simply from the way that it was layed out. Instead of putting the whole thing in chapters the author wrote almost in like journal entry forms it felt like. Considering the nature of this book that was the best way to do it and it helped me connect w ...more
Sue Davidson
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Sad, heart-rending, well-written description of her mother's dementia.
(Read on Kindle)
Erin Clemence
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this novel for free through Goodreads.
Borrie's novel is concise and very easy to read through. I do not mean to imply, however, that the novel is at all juvenile or unassuming.
Borrie tells the story of her final conversations with her ailing mother, who suffered from Alzheimer's, interspersed with anecdotes from her childhood. The story is very fragmented, and the plot often jumps back and forth through time, telling a story from Borrie’s childhood quickly cutting to Borrie as an ad
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won an advance copy of The long Hello via a giveaway on goodreads. Thank you very much.
I wanted to read this book because having cared for a decade for both my parents who suffered from dementia I wanted to see what it was like for other people.
This book is a memoir of the author’s childhood interspersed with transcribed conversations between the author and her ailing mother. The childhood memories are lyrical and touching, often sad. It is also a search for what went wrong and explanations a
Nov 19, 2014 rated it liked it
I received an ARC through goodreads first reads.

This book is the writer's share on taking care of her mother, suffering from Alzheimer's, over a 6 year period. Written in diary form the author weaves in and out of painful childhood memories, the losses of loved ones throughout her life, and the emotional struggle of watching her mothers mind deteriorate.

From the pages we get to know a woman who has lost everyone she loves, never quite finds her niche in life, and while it's clear the family ha
Inactive Canadian
I'm uncomfortable rating a book so obviously forged out of pain. The Long Hello is a sort of poetic portrait of the author's time caring for an elderly mother with Alzheimer's Disease. It is also an exploration of the pain of the past--the loss of a beloved thirteen-year-old brother to violence, a biological father to alcoholism, the author's mother's remarriage to a successful businessman 22 years her senior, and the author's girlhood banishment to a boarding school only minutes away from her m ...more
Wordfest Calgary

Review by one of Wordfest dedicated volunteer readers: Kelsey Attard

Told in a series of lyrical snapshots, Borrie relates her experience of caring for her mother during her mother’s seven-year decline, while interweaving flashbacks of her own childhood and history with her mother. She is also able to convey her own struggle to be a person herself, to have a life of her own, while devoting so much time to providing care to her mother. It makes for a beautifully written, unconventional approach to
Jan 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway, first-reads
I received a hard cover copy of Cathie Borrie's "The Long Hello" compliments of the Goodreads Firstreads giveaway program and appreciated the opportunity.

Cathy Borrie's experience in caring for her mother who has Alzheimer's disease is shared poetically and with raw honesty. It is not fair for me to place a rating on her story, it is her's, not for anyone else to judge. I enjoyed her writing style, the conversations that she had with her mother, the loving bond that they held to the untimely end
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