When I Married My Mother

A Daughter's Search for What Really Matters - and How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo
By: Jo Maeder
Narrated by: Jo Maeder
Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (60 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"This book is important to every mother and daughter, and to every woman who wants to be one." (Maya Angelou)

An irreverent New York City DJ braces for disaster when she moves to the Bible Belt to care for her estranged, doll-obsessed, hoarder mother. What unfolds in this best-selling memoir is a hilarious, heartbreaking love story that sees elder care and making peace with the past in a most unexpected way.

Suitable for age 15+.

©2009, 2014 Jo Maeder (P)2016 Jo Maeder

Critic Reviews

"Hilarious, poignant, and utterly relevant to all of us facing adulthood with aging parents. Jo Maeder perfectly nails the unique combination of love and frustration that so many of us have felt. And her mother!! Mama Jo is a character I won't soon forget. I adored this book." (Hope Edelman)
“Who knew aging, memory-impaired mothers could surprise their reluctantly dutiful daughters? Jo’s counter-intuitive take on caring for Mama Jo speaks to the resilience in late-life family care relationships. As author and memoirist, Jo delighted participants at Duke’s Alzheimer’s conference by encouraging them to seek fresh, positive, and personal perspectives on caring.” (Lisa P. Gwyhter, MSW, co-author The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: A Family Guide, Director of Duke Aging Center Family Support Program)
"A humorous and always touching account of how Maeder went from dreading caring for 'Mama Jo' to cherishing every minute with her. This generous gift of a book explores the mystery of how doing the right thing can, in the end, become infinitely more." (Tommy Hays)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A must read for grown up children

A MUST READ for every daughter. No matter what relations you have with your Mom, you can always make it better. Call your Momma today, before it is too late... And listen to this awesome memoir!

2 people found this helpful

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Loved this book and its author

Wonderful! I have recommended this story to several friends who are also getting to know their parents as "old people". It's encouraging and honest. Personally, I want to look up and find Jo Maeder and ask her to be my friend. She's just someone you like.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Mother and Daughter Story

This reminds me of the time I had mom in her final years. I made me nostalgic for two years ago. I miss my mom everyday. Thanks for a touching memorial to love.

1 person found this helpful

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loved this. sad it's over.

beimg able to listen to this made it very real. i felt like I was sittimg listening to Jo in my kitchen.

1 person found this helpful

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I didn't think the book could get any better...

This book is amazing...full of heart and love...I feel like it was written just for me...it's not very often that I'm at a loss for words but bottom line is EVERYONE should read this book and then buy more to give as gifts...Thank you Jo for sharing your journey with us...

1 person found this helpful

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Laugh and Cry

This author added humor to an extremely difficult situation. If we are fortunate, we have aging parents and they will need some level of care, even if just to check in with them. This is a story about discovering what a gift an aging parent can be before it's too late.

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Formulaic

Narrators voice grating and dull. Couldn’t identify with the main character. Lacks substance. Ok for a throw away read. I couldn’t find any interest in the narrators rather dull meaningless life or the story arc.

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  • mz
  • 10-05-18

Deeply meaningful, loving, courageous, peaceful

Deeply meaningful book. Through touching stories and genuine internal feelings, it shows how the bond of family can pull people together in the face of crisis, no matter how different they are, and even if those people never got along before.

We don't get to choose our parents. Often do we hear that people don't get along with their parents, or dread going home, or regret being too busy to see them before they suddenly passed away. Jo Maeder's memoir showed me that despite all the dreading and groaning, previous family separation, or personal differences, something inside us would push us to want to care for our parents in their weakening years. It is a feeling that I can echo with.

The parental love, or moreover the maternal love, is quite an incomparable kind of love. It is unconditionally forgiving and eternally so, more than one might realize until one becomes a parent or until a crisis.

Highly recommend this moving memoir.

Narrator: The author, also the narrator, is a radio presenter by trade. Can't get an author-narrated audiobook much better than that.

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True to life

As someone headed into the “Mama Jo” time of life, this story was so true and well done. The author did a wonderful job doing the audible.

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Powerful. Real. Raw, at times.

What was one of the most memorable moments of When I Married My Mother?

Every time the author owned her part in the relationship between her, and her mother-no matter how painful. It pained me to have to hear the kind of courage that I'm not sure I possess! I also loved the queens that danced with Mama Jo.

What about Jo Maeder’s performance did you like?

The honest emotion. That made it real. The telling of the way Mama Jo's smile lit up her face over memories or situations made me see it very clearly in my mind's eye. I actually waited in each chapter for that smile to light up her face. It struck me in my heart, I suppose, because early in the book it seemed as though her heart had been permanently trod upon.
I loved how the author told of the relationship with "The best neighbor I ever had" with such tenderness.
The accepting of the truth about her father. That he loved her no matter what.

Any additional comments?

Mama Jo's dolls. The stories behind them. I loved knowing that they weren't 'just dolls' , but that each one had an important story about family history behind it. There was never a need for a book to be written by Mama Jo-it was already written in the memory of each doll. To me, almost every chapter in this book taught me something about the way I should treat other people, and how people need and deserve to be treated-even when they don't fit into my mind's neat little story about how they 'should' be. Thank you for those lessons. Thank you.