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Review – Someone Not Really Her Mother

Someone Not Really Her Mother
by Harriet Scott Chessman
160 pages
published 2004

I first saw mention of this book on she reads and reads. I hopped on over to Bookmooch and quickly mooched the book. It arrived so quickly and is such a short read (160 pages) that I jumped in right away.

Someone Not Really Her Mother is about Hannah Pearl, a woman in the middle to late stages of dementia. She never talked about her past with her daughter, preferring to try to forget the tragedy that befell her family as Jews in France while Hitler was reigning. As her dementia progresses, her history is bubbling up in fits and starts. The story is divulged slowly and quietly, with a seeming dignity.

As Hannah slips further and further away, Hannah’s daughter, Miranda, is trying to cope with her mother’s dementia. She makes this observation:

She had not known before how slowly someone could disappear, just a little bit at a time, and then a day comes and you discover that it isn’t even as simple as this, that it’s you who’s vanished from this beloved person’s sight, as if the earth opened and swallowed you up. You haven’t gone anywhere; you’re still right here; it’s just that you’re invisible.

A lovely novella about life, the past, family, and what it’s like to have the person you love slipping away right before your eyes. Highly recommended. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Rating: 86 out of 100

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3 Responses to “Review – Someone Not Really Her Mother”

  1. lisamm

    This sounds like a much more serious book than that cover and title would lead you to believe. I’ve never heard of Ahlzheimers described in quite that way but it sounds dead on. THanks for a great review, as always!!


  2. chartroose

    This sounds really good, but I think I’ll skip it. Dementia is a subject that is just way too depressing to deal with at the moment. Now let me return to my rereading of “Pollyanna…”


  3. avisannschild

    I saw you were reading this book (in your currently reading section) and wondering if my review had inspired you. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it too. Great review!


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