In this poetic and inspiring memoir, one of America’s most revered actresses uses the imagery of flowers and the art of Ikebana to depict the unique creative bond that she has had with her mother throughout the years—and how, together, they are facing her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Marcia Gay Harden knew at a young age that her life would be anything but ordinary. One of five lively children born to two Texas natives—Beverly, a proper Dallas lady, and Thad, a young officer in the US Navy hailing from El Paso—she always had a knack for storytelling, role-playing, and mischief-making. As a military family, the Hardens moved often, and their travels abroad eventually took them to a home off the coast of Japan. It was here that Beverly, amidst the many challenges of raising a gaggle of youngsters, found solace in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement.
Using the imagery of flowers and Ikebana as her starting point, Marcia Gay Harden takes us through the different seasons of her mother’s life, all the while weaving in the story of her own journey from precocious young girl to budding artist to Academy Award-winning actress. With a razor-sharp wit, as well as the kind of emotional honesty that has made her performances resonate with audiences worldwide, Marcia describes the family’s travels overseas, her flourishing career in New York and Hollywood, and, most poignantly, Beverly’s struggles today to maintain her identity as she tackles her greatest challenge yet: Alzheimer’s disease.
Featuring photographs of gorgeous Ikebana arrangements created specially for this book, this memoir illustrates the uniqueness, beauty, and unforgettable love of motherhood, as Marcia does what Beverly can no longer do: she remembers. Like a cross between Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club and Lisa Genova’s Still Alice, this memoir is a lyrical, loving homage to one mother’s strength as reflected in the tenacity and artistry of her daughter.
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“When Harden’s mother began to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease, Harden decided to try to capture her memories before they were gone. In this soulful memoir, she pays homage to the woman who raised her. She tells stories from her earliest childhood days to the present and emphasizes the beliefs and values her mother instilled in her…Praise, love, and honor all play roles in this respectful, highly affectionate memoir about a spirited mother-daughter relationship.”