May 16, 2011

Book Reviews: "The Long Goodbye: a Memoir" and "Please Look After Mom: a Novel"

I found two excellent library books on similar subjects dealing with lost mothers, so am reviewing them together.

The Long Goodbye: A memoir

The Long Goodbye: A memoir by Meghan O'Rourke (April 14, 2011)
chronicles the days leading up to and the months after the death of the author's mother after a long illness. The book will resonate with anyone who has lost a close family member; it also discusses our society's general lack of mourning rituals that go beyond the period of death and burial. People go about their lives after the death of a loved one, but very often they may continue to mourn, very often alone and in silence. Fifteen months after her mother's death, O'Rourke is still affected by not having her mother in her life, but has come to a kind of acceptance. Heartbreaking and honest. Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Please Look After Mom

Please Look After Mom: a Novel by Korean author Kyung-Sook Shin
 (April 5, 2011) tells us about the children of a Korean woman whose mother is missing after being separated from her husband on a visit to the big city in the crowded and unfamiliar subway. The mother is elderly and becoming disoriented and forgetful; her daughter has only recently realized that her mother cannot read or write. They don't know how to go about finding the mother, apart from posting newspaper notices, searching through the streets, and passing out leaflets with her picture.

During their search, the children find out more about their mother and each member of the family gradually comes to have a deeper understanding of her and the life of sacrifice she has lived.

Set in Korea, I find the novel both culturally revealing and haunting in its view of a family's dynamics and a mother's relationship with her children and husband. Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


  1. This sounds like a worthwhile read. I must find it in my stacks. Nice review. Hope u r having a great week.

  2. Both of these are now on my list. I have a friend that I recommended the top one to a few weeks back. I've seen Please Look After Mom and wondered if it was going to be good.

  3. This one does sound a bit more positive, if sad of course, than the one I read. I'll have to check it out sometime.


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