January 27, 2018

The Long Hello

The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me by Cathie Borrie
2016 Arcade Publishing (First published 2015 Simon & Schuster Canada)
Finished on February 25, 2017
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

A stirring memoir of a daughter caring for a mother with dementia that is sure to become a touchstone for many others.

The Long Hello explores the emotional rewards and challenges that Cathie Borrie experienced in caring for her mother, who was living with Alzheimer’s disease, for seven years. Between the two, a wondrously poetic dialogue develops, which Ms. Borrie further illuminates with childhood memories of her family, and her struggle to maintain a life outside her caregiving responsibilities. The Long Hello demonstrates how caregiving creates an opportunity to experience the change in a relationship that illness necessitates, one in which joy, innocence, and profound intimacy can flourish.

Written in spare, beautiful prose, largely in the form of a dialogue, The Long Hello exquisitely captures the intricacies and nuances of a daughter’s relationship with her mother.

I almost quit when I reached the halfway point, but since it's a very short memoir, I decided to continue. In spite of the terribly sad subject matter, the author does a nice job conveying her frustration and love as her mother's caretaker. Dementia or Alzheimer's is never definitively named, but the illness is there and as an only child, the author is the sole caregiver. She handles her mother's confusion and questions with grace and patience. I liked the book, but didn't love it.


  1. I remember you talking about this one last year. Don't know why I didn't pick it up as it's the sort of book I would likely try. Maybe I will now since it is short. I'll let you know.

    1. Kay, I know that you are drawn to these type of memoirs and think you may like it better than I did. Let me know!

  2. You describe this as a book that would be best not to read. And you didn't even mention that it's one of thousands of books by the pathetic or heroic or depressed or whatever caregivers of dementia patients.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    1. Mae Travels, there are so many books out now about caregiving of family members suffering from dementia or Alzheimers. This one left me wanting for something more. I'm not sure what, but it definitely fell short for me.


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