As Long as I Know You
The Mom Book
Writer Pam Houston once summed it up: “Nice mother-daughter stories are a dime a dozen; pain-in-the-ass mother-daughter stories are the ones that grab us.” As Long as I Know You is a compelling read for any adult grappling with a living elder who might also be a pain in the ass, particularly, any reader who wants a tender take on the lethal combination of dementia and defiance.
As Long as I Know You narrates Anne-Marie Oomen’s journey to finally knowing her mother as well as the heartbreaking loss of her mother’s immense capacities. It explores how humor and compassion grow belatedly between a mother and daughter who don’t much like each other. It’s a personal map to find a mother who may have been there all along, then losing her again in the time of Covid. As the millions of women like Oomen’s mother reach their elder years and become the “oldest of the old,” their millions of daughters (and sometimes sons) must come on board, involved in care they may welcome the way they’d welcome hitting a pothole the size of a semi. How a family makes decisions about that pothole, how care continues or does not, how possessions are addressed—really, no one wants the crockpot—and how the relationship shifts and evolves (or not), that story is universal.