Book Club Channel
Praise for The Geography of Memory
"This deeply humane memoir is at once a memorial to a mother whose memory failed before her body gave way, a poignant reflection on the sister who lived close by while the author flew in repeatedly from afar, and an insightful exposition on memory itself. With a poet's eye for the apt image, The Geography of Memory is also a case book of spiritual disciplines taught by what Jeanne Murray calls "the ugly twins, aging and death."
—Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, Notre Dame and author of American Evangelical Christianity: An Introduction
"A beautifully written memoir of a daughter's journey with her mother over the changeful, perilous landscape of Alzheimer's. The author's compassion, humanity, and humor shine through a chaotic, if not amazing, kaleidoscope of family plans, places, and emotions. What powerfully winds through the narrative is a poet's wonderful reflections on her own history and the nature of memory, identity, and self. A dazzling, engaging story of the grace of holding on and letting go."
—Dr. Myrna Grant, faculty emerita, Wheaton College, Illinois
"There is so much more to this book than the subtitle indicates. Yes, it is a pilgrimage through the Alzheimer's that befell Walker's mother, told with unflinching yet compassionate honesty, and invaluable for any reader wrestling with a loved one's parallel journey. But the telling of the story involves the connections between mother and daughter, and both with family. It evokes reflections on memory, the nature of the human person, and love itself, that should endlessly engage your soul. It is one of the best memoirs you will ever read, period. A masterpiece."
—Warren Farha, owner of Eighth Day Books, Wichita, KS
"Jeanne Murray Walker's loving account of caring for her Alzheimer's-stricken mother is also the occasion for the author to reflect on her own memories of growing up as a fundamentalist. She engagingly relates her own journey in leaving that heritage even while remaining a Christian and also intensely loyal to her memorable fundamentalist mother."
—George Marsden, author of Fundamentalism and American Culture
"Jeanne Murray Walker elegantly affirms the value of memory while mourning its loss in her mother's life. She untangles complex threads of family, illness, and faith in a way that sheds light on the aging and dying process-much needed in our death-phobic culture."
—Hannah Faith Notess, editor of Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing up Female and Evangelical
"Walker offers an irresistibly candid account of her mother's slide into dementia and the challenges of helping her in her final days. As her fragmented memory becomes a mosaic of the family's history, her children are forced to confront issues from the past as well as crises in the present. Walker, a poet, creates a rich texture of remembered physical detail that not only lends beauty to the narrative but anchors events and emotions in the reader's memory even as they were anchored in her own."
—Stephanie Kraft, journalist and author of No Castles on Main Street
"The Geography of Memory is as brave and poignant a tale of a mother's passage into Alzheimer's as you are likely to find. But what truly sets it apart is the way it triumphantly disproves our worst fear about this disease: that it robs its victims of their humanity. Like one of Shakespeare's late tragi-comedies, this book moves through loss and discord to discover, by the end, wellsprings of unexpected grace and reconciliation."
—Gregory Wolfe, editor of Image magazine