The seasons of my mother A memoir of love, family, and flowers

Marcia Gay Harden

Book - 2018

"In this lyrical and deeply moving memoir, one of America's most revered actresses weaves stories of her adventures and travels with her mother, while reflecting on the beautiful spirit that persists even in the face of her mother 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 naval officer--she always had a... knack for storytelling, role-playing, and adventure. As a military family, the Hardens moved often, and their travels abroad eventually took them to Yokohama, off the coast of Japan, during the Vietnam War era. It was here that Beverly, amid the many challenges of raising her family abroad, found her own self-expression in ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. Using the philosophy of ikebana as her starting point, Marcia Gay Harden intertwines the seasons of her mother's life with her own journey from precocious young girl to budding artist in New York City 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 captures the joys and losses of life even as her precious mother gracefully strives to maintain her identity while coming to grips with Alzheimer's disease. Powerful and incredibly stirring, The Seasons of My Mother illustrates the unforgettable vulnerability and beauty of motherhood, as Marcia does what Beverly can no longer do: she remembers."--Dust jacket.

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

BIOGRAPHY/Harden, Marcia Gay
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor BIOGRAPHY/Harden, Marcia Gay Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Published
New York, NY : Atria Books 2018.
Edition
First Atria books hardcover edition
Language
English
Physical Description
325 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781501135705
1501135708
9781501135712
1501135716
Main Author
Marcia Gay Harden (author)
  • Prologue: My mother's flower path
  • Spring. My mother is a brightly ribboned maypole ; My mother is a crescent moon ; My mother holds me like Mary holds Jesus
  • Summer: My mother flies with Superwoman ; My mother is an orange hibiscus in a brown coffee cup ; My mother is a miraculous bamboo
  • Fall: My mother is a driftwood ballerina ; My mother is a bottle of extra virgin olive oil ; My mother is a silver-wrapped piece of Wrigley's Spearmint chewing gum
  • Winter: My mother is a Harry Winston diamond ; My mother is a star navigator ; My mother is an Easter Bunny in a white confectioner's egg.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Alzheimer's is a thief. The disease steals people's memories away, until they no longer have the thread of their life to hold on to. But in this poignant, beautiful memoir, actor Harden restores the narrative of her mother's life. As the wife of a naval officer and mother of five, Beverly had her share of adventures. While living in Japan, she discovered the art of ikebana, a type of flower arranging focused on achieving balance. She would go on to become an accomplished practitioner and teacher of ikebana, but when mother and daughter begin to plan a flower-arranging television show, the thief of memory ruthlessly cuts in. Replete with emotionally resonant scenes, humor, and tales of Harden's own journey as an actor, The Seasons of My Mother is both inspirational and devastating, a touching tribute to a remarkable woman. Harden may have put it best when, accepting her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the 2000 film Pollock, she thanked her father "for teaching me how to soldier through tough situations, and Mom for showing me how to do it gracefully." Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

As Harden's mother is battling Alzheimer's and cannot recall her life, Harden does it for her, blending in accounts of her own rise to Tony- and Academy Award-winning stature. Framed by images of the Japanese flower arranging her mother so loved.. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

The devotion and heartbreak of a loving mother-daughter relationship are captured with affection and precision in this graceful memoir. Harden, an Academy Award–winning actress (Pollock), began writing the life story of her mother, Beverly, alongside her own after Beverly's 2011 Alzheimer's diagnosis. Beverly was passionate about ikebana (the ancient art of Japanese flower arrangement), and, in Harden's telling, both women led relatively ordinary lives: they married, had children, found meaning in travel, and took joy in family. She narrates the story by seasons of her mother's life, describing her essence in each one (in spring, "my mother is a brightly ribboned maypole"). Descriptions of ikebana arrangements tell Beverly's story: a military wife with five children who grew into a self-directed woman, her strength is "like a willow branch. Bendable, flexible, yet unbreakable." Harden is optimistic in the face of Alzheimer's: "When all is said and done—even without memory—what still exists is love." The connection between daughter and mother becomes even richer during "the great migration of age," when "the children become the caregivers." Harden delivers a love letter to her mother, in which the extraordinary elements of her ordinary life shine through. (May) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A lyrical, uplifting memoir by the Academy- and Tony Award-winning actress traces the story of her childhood and career while using the imagery of flowers and the art of Ikebana as metaphors to represent the unique creative bond she shares with her mother, who has been succumbing in recent years to Alzheimer's.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An uplifting memoir by the revered actress traces the story of her childhood and career while using the imagery of flowers and the art of Ikebana as metaphors to represent the unique creative bond she shares with her mother, who now suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In this lyrical and deeply moving memoir, one of America's most revered actresses weaves stories of her adventures and travels with her mother, while reflecting on the beautiful spirit that persists even in the face of 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 naval officer'she always had a knack for storytelling, role-playing, and adventure. As a military family, the Hardens moved often, and their travels eventually took them to Yokohama, off the coast of Japan, during the Vietnam War era. It was here that Beverly, amid the many challenges of raising her family abroad, found her own self-expression in ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. Using the philosophy of ikebana as her starting point, Marcia Gay Harden intertwines the seasons of her mother's life with her own journey from precocious young girl to budding artist in New York City 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 captures the joys and losses of life even as her precious mother gracefully strives to maintain her identity while coming to grips with Alzheimer's disease. Powerful and incredibly stirring, The Seasons of My Mother illustrates the unforgettable vulnerability and beauty of motherhood, as Marcia does what Beverly can no longer do: she remembers.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

In this lyrical and deeply moving memoir, one of America's most revered actresses weaves stories of her adventures and travels with her mother, while reflecting on the beautiful spirit that persists even in the face of 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 naval officer'she always had a knack for storytelling, role-playing, and adventure. As a military family, the Hardens moved often, and their travels eventually took them to Yokohama, off the coast of Japan, during the Vietnam War era. It was here that Beverly, amid the many challenges of raising her family abroad, found her own self-expression in ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. Using the philosophy of ikebana as her starting point, Marcia Gay Harden intertwines the seasons of her mother's life with her own journey from precocious young girl to budding artist in New York City 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 captures the joys and losses of life even as her precious mother gracefully strives to maintain her identity while coming to grips with Alzheimer's disease. Powerful and incredibly stirring, The Seasons of My Mother illustrates the unforgettable vulnerability and beauty of motherhood, as Marcia does what Beverly can no longer do: she remembers.