"In describing her mother's long passage into dementia and its reverberations through a family, Jeanne Murray Walker has given us a powerful tale of loss but also renewal, pain but also love. In simple yet beautiful language, she shows how the light of hope and grace can illuminate even the darkest journey. For many, many readers The Geography of Memory will be a treasure."
—Alan Jacobs, author of The Narnian
"Those of us who've accompanied a beloved parent through the valley of the shadow will instantly recognize the terrain in this lyrical and profoundly wise account of aging unto death. Jeanne Murray Walker's The Geography of Memory is, hands down, one of the most beautiful books I've ever read."
—Paula Huston, author of Simplifying the Soul and A Season of Mystery
"This book is not about "silver linings," though the author believes "the news about Alzheimer's is more hopeful than what we hear on the street." Fully acknowledging the anxieties, frustrations, bewilderment, and tensions that arise in caring for a parent with dementia, Jeanne Murray Walker manages to lead us through those rocky passages to a place not only of acceptance but of fascination and gratitude for the way that such caregiving brings her to new terms with her own memories, with the legacy of stories that are now hers to tell, and with shifting roles that offer rigorous lessons in humility and compassion. The way her own stories mingle with her mother's mirrors a striking truth about how what we call our own life stories are composites, our materials recycled, and everything we call "ours," a gift from those who continue to shape us even as they take their leave."
—Marilyn McEntyre, author of Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies
"If you believe there is only darkness and loss in caring for a parent with Alzheimer's, you clearly haven't read Jeanne Murray Walker's book, which sets us straight. This page-turning memoir, fastidious in detail, delivers surprise and wit on nearly every page, teaching us about the immutability and transcendence of human personality, worth, and love. I needed this book."
—Leslie Leyland Fields, author of Surviving the Island of Grace: A Life on the Wild Edge of America
"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