Review by Jacqui Broderick
This heart-breaking memoir of the slow deterioration of Ann’s parents is beautifully written. Her pain, grief, confusion and frustration at the loss of the foundations of her life are something that many people will share. Growing up we assume our parents are invincible – even when they drive us nuts we can never imagine a day when they are not powerful and in control and when that day comes we do find ourselves floundering, wishing that we had more time with them.
I normally read books little by little, a chapter or so every day, but with this book I felt compelled to keep reading, to share Ann’s journey, which mirrored both my recent one and I’d imagine many others of a certain age. I spent all day immersed in the book, sharing the authors confusion and despair at her mother’s deterioration, while trying to have a life, hobbies and a husband. When I finished it I shut myself in the bathroom and sobbed uncontrollably. Not because of the thankfully positive outcome for Ann and her husband in their hopes of becoming parents, something the title gives away, but because of her talent as a writer. Ann uses words skilfully to paint a picture of both her horse life, the dreams and frustrations of horse ownership juggled against day to day life, but that of her family life, the battles we all face of work and enforced separation while trying to maintain a relationship.
There is nothing that can prepare anyone for losing a parent and to witness them slipping away mentally is doubly hard. Motherhood Lost and Found shares this journey with the reader, while nothing can tell a child how to prepare for the loss of a parent, or how to cope with them being stolen by Alzheimer’s this book at least makes the reader feel as if they aren’t alone.
Ann Campanella is an extremely talented writer who does not shy away from the pain of loss, both of her parents and her much loved horse, all against the background of her battle to save her marriage and become a parent herself.
This isn’t a book for everyone. It is not a frothy feel-good book to read on the beach. It won’t find much of an audience with youngsters looking for light-hearted entertainment. But for people of a certain age, who are already dealing with the loss or illness of seemingly invincible parents this is an incredible book, heartbreakingly honest readers will find comfort in a shared journey of grief.
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