Memoir is flourishing these days with aspiring writers who have a story of their own life to tell – and proficient writers inspired to turn their hand to this genre. Jane Gross is a New York Times reporter. She launched and still contributes to the Times blog called The New Old Age. Her mother’s final years of failing health, starting in assisted living and ending in a nursing home, are described in a memoir titled A Bittersweet Season. It was a time of nightmarish challenge, unwelcome revelation, and unexpected reconciliation. This is a blisteringly honest book. Elderly mother, dutiful daughter and not so dutiful (or rather, differently dutiful) son didn’t go into this with warm, close relationships. And Ms. Gross made understandable mistakes with disastrous results. Fortunately for all concerned, she found an excellent nursing home. This book has a great deal of candid and vital advice for anyone in the same boat the Gross family found itself in. Recommended, although not necessarily recommended at a time in your life when it hits too close to home. It’s hard to read if your own nerves are raw. I recently heard Jane Gross speak here in Houston. That was a tremendously effective way for her advice to connect with people who needed to hear it.
A Bittersweet Season by Jane Gross, published in New York by Alfred A. Knopf in 2011.