In this profoundly honest and examined memoir about returning to Iowa to care for her ailing parents, the star of Orange Is the New Black and bestselling author of Born with Teeth takes us on an unexpected journey of loss, betrayal, and the transcendent nature of a daughter’s love for her parents.
They say you can’t go home again. But when her father is diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer and her mother with atypical Alzheimer’s, New York-based actress Kate Mulgrew returns to her hometown in Iowa to spend time with her parents and care for them in the time they have left.
The months Kate spends with her parents in Dubuque—by turns turbulent, tragic, and joyful—lead her to reflect on each of their lives and how they shaped her own. Those ruminations are transformed when, in the wake of their deaths, Kate uncovers long-kept secrets that challenge her understanding of the unconventional Irish Catholic household in which she was raised.
Breathtaking and powerful, laced with the author’s irreverent wit, How to Forget is a considered portrait of a mother and a father, an emotionally powerful memoir that demonstrates how love fuses children and parents, and an honest examination of family, memory, and indelible loss.
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About the Author
Kate Mulgrew, a native of Dubuque, Iowa, is an actress and author with an extensive career on stage and screen. From her start as Mary Ryan, the lead role on the popular soap opera Ryan's Hope to the groundbreaking first female starship captain on Star Trek: Voyager to her acclaimed performance as Galina "Red" Reznikov on Netflix's smash hit Orange Is The New Black, Kate brings a formidable presence and deep passion to all her projects. Her 2016 book, Born With Teeth, allowed her to add "New York Times bestselling author" to her resume.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
After reading “Born With Teeth”, Kate Mulgrew’s first book and a gem of a memoir, I could not wait to hear that a second one would be coming. “How to Forget” is a tremendous book! Not unlike the first memoir, I have swallowed it in a matter of hours, and then found myself needing several days to be able to articulate a more fitting opinion on it than simply “heart-rending”. This memoir is first and foremost about the lives and deaths of Kate’s parents, and about how her relationship with either one of them had shaped her own life. A truly no-holds-barred journey through memories in turn fond and poignant, full of wit and of profound sadness, each one of them told in almost devastatingly vivid and starkly frank detail. Kate has an extraordinary gift as a storyteller; her narrative so engaging, it is impossible not to sink into each chapter. I have to stress that, as captivating as these stories are, the subject matter of the book is very real, bound to affect many readers, and I cannot help but admire Kate’s fortitude not only in living through these experiences but also in sharing them, as deeply personal as they are.
As the numbers of those exponentially rise each year of those afflicted with Alzheimer's, this book provides great insight into a family's past, and their struggle dealing with palliative care. As a son who lost his mother from Alzheimer's, this book is a blessing; To those who are dealing now with loved ones who are struggling, know that you are not alone. Rest and exercise when you can, don't hesitate to ask others for help.
Due to the heaviness of the subject matter, this second book of Mulgrew's was a slower read for me. It was emotionally frustrating to read about some mannerisms; occasionally I found myself wanting to fruitlessly yell at the ghosts on the page. But, it seems to be a way that works for this family the same way yelling at eachother works for mine. (Heh).Having a load of guilt that I still carry with me over my Grandmother's death made reading about her mother's affliction all the more difficult. I found myself speeding through the section not because "I couldn't put it down" but because I WANTED to put it down but also wanted to finish the book. It's not a bad read, but hopefully your head is in a nice place if you take it on.