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Stateside Podcast: Reading 'The Mom Book'

The University of Georgia Press, Athens, 2022

If you have a good relationship with your family, this time of year can be a joyous one. But not all family relationships are easy; some are informed by decades-worth of emotional damage. 

So if you do have a complicated relationship with family, what happens when you need to be there for someone who wasn’t really there for you?

Michigan writer Anne-Marie Oomen answers that question for herself in her memoir, "As Long As I Know You: The Mom Book." The book chronicles her relationship with her aging mother.

Growing up, Oomen said that her mother had high expectations for her that she often could not live up to.

"[My mother] offered so much to the community. She was devout. She was generous. She was warm hearted," said Oomen. "[E]ven though you have two people with the intentions to live well and and wholeheartedly and with good intentions toward each other, they are on a collision course because of their expectations of each other."

But as her mother's dementia progressed, there relationship shifted. Oomen discovered a new side of her mother and built a new kind of friendship with her. Her memoir captures that change.

"[W]hat I loved about what happened with us is that the essence of her goodness finally rose to the surface in her decline as I was losing her to dementia," she said. "Finally, we found this strange, quirky friendship that we had never had before."

On the Stateside podcast, we talk with Oomen about her book, caregiving, and familial healing.


Anne-Marie Oomen, writer


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Additional music byBlue Dot Sessions.

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Mercedes Mejia is a producer and director of <i>Stateside</i>.