"Highlighting a mix of well-known and personal household phrases, Smith accompanies them with a flurry of hilarious stories that compare the experiences of her aging mom to Smith's childhood."
Anyone who has had to care for an elderly parent knows first hand how daunting that task can be. Yet amid all the trials and tribulations, there are moments—precious gleanings—of joy and pure laughter. That said, Smith’s memoir capitalizes on these precious gleanings from her decade-long role as a caregiver for her mother.
Smith’s debut offers lightheartedness to an otherwise somber aging and end-of-life process. Smith’s narrative reflects on moments when the familial table turns and she spouts out the same maxims her mother once used on Smith during her childhood. Laying the groundwork for her account, Smith opens with 16 valuable life lessons passed down to her from her parents, which play a key role in helping her “deal with being a caregiver.” Smith quickly draws readers into familiar territory when she includes lesson topics, such as “Honesty is really the best policy,” “Crying is good for the soul,” “Forgive and forget,” and “Do unto others,” to name a few.
Continuing to connect with her audience, Smith’s chapters are replete with her down-to-earth writing style. Highlighting a mix of well-known and personal household phrases, Smith accompanies them with a flurry of hilarious stories that compare the experiences of her aging mom to Smith’s childhood. While readers will quickly recognize adages such as “Are you going to sleep all day?” “Turn that down!” “Stand up straight!” and “Hang up your clothes,” Smith also provides a handful of illuminating lines, such as “Huh is not a word,” “Can’t never could,” and “Did you want that hair color?”
Smith closes with another set of lessons learned that incorporates helpful caregiver tips. Although respectfully dedicated to the life of her mother, Smith’s memoir serves a great purpose: “For all you wonderful children who provide loving care to a parent, I hope this book gives you a laugh, a smile and a little inspiration. You already have had enough tears. Just remember, sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.”
TRADING PLACES: BECOMING MY MOTHER’S MOTHER is a bittersweet combination of pain and joy.
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