Mother of Stories: An Elegy

Fordham Univ. Jul. 2024. 160p. ISBN 9781531506476. pap. $24.95. LIT
This moving memoir about the death of the author’s mother poetically displays the brokenness of grief through artfully composed mixed media. Dailey (English, Villanova Univ.; How To Do Things with Dead People) explores her conflicting feelings of the loss of a parent and central figure in her life with the reality of a strained and painful relationship. The book reads like a diary, walking readers through the last weeks of Dailey’s mother’s life and Dailey’s lengthy healing process afterward. The text gives a broken effect, echoing the grieving process. Some passages recount the events of a day while others are lengthy, emotional memories. Between these passages are photographs, often with her mother’s image removed, passages from Dailey’s academic works, and personal artwork. These personal touches bring readers close to the author, painting a picture of her loss and pulling them into her grieving process. Often the pictures serve as proof of the myriad of lies her mother told throughout her life. Each piece of the story shows the fragile balance between losing a parent and grappling with the unhealed wounds they caused.
VERDICT These very personal and painful revelations from a death studies scholar will be of interest to readers of literate grief memoirs.
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