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In this profoundly honest and examined memoir about returning to Iowa to care for her ailing parents, the star of Orange Is the New Black and author of Born with Teeth takes us on an unexpected journey of loss, betrayal, and the transcendent nature of a daughter’s love for her parents. They say you can’t go home again. But when her father is diagnosed with aggressive lung In this profoundly honest and examined memoir about returning to Iowa to care for her ailing parents, the star of Orange Is the New Black and author of Born with Teeth takes us on an unexpected journey of loss, betrayal, and the transcendent nature of a daughter’s love for her parents. They say you can’t go home again. But when her father is diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer and her mother with atypical Alzheimer’s, New York-based actress Kate Mulgrew returns to her hometown in Iowa to spend time with her parents and care for them in the time they have left. The months Kate spends with her parents in Dubuque—by turns turbulent, tragic, and joyful—lead her to reflect on each of their lives and how they shaped her own. Those ruminations are transformed when, in the wake of their deaths, Kate uncovers long-kept secrets that challenge her understanding of the unconventional Irish Catholic household in which she was raised. Breathtaking and powerful, laced with the author’s irreverent wit, How to Forget is a considered portrait of a mother and a father, an emotionally powerful memoir that demonstrates how love fuses children and parents, and an honest examination of family, memory, and indelible loss.


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In this profoundly honest and examined memoir about returning to Iowa to care for her ailing parents, the star of Orange Is the New Black and author of Born with Teeth takes us on an unexpected journey of loss, betrayal, and the transcendent nature of a daughter’s love for her parents. They say you can’t go home again. But when her father is diagnosed with aggressive lung In this profoundly honest and examined memoir about returning to Iowa to care for her ailing parents, the star of Orange Is the New Black and author of Born with Teeth takes us on an unexpected journey of loss, betrayal, and the transcendent nature of a daughter’s love for her parents. They say you can’t go home again. But when her father is diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer and her mother with atypical Alzheimer’s, New York-based actress Kate Mulgrew returns to her hometown in Iowa to spend time with her parents and care for them in the time they have left. The months Kate spends with her parents in Dubuque—by turns turbulent, tragic, and joyful—lead her to reflect on each of their lives and how they shaped her own. Those ruminations are transformed when, in the wake of their deaths, Kate uncovers long-kept secrets that challenge her understanding of the unconventional Irish Catholic household in which she was raised. Breathtaking and powerful, laced with the author’s irreverent wit, How to Forget is a considered portrait of a mother and a father, an emotionally powerful memoir that demonstrates how love fuses children and parents, and an honest examination of family, memory, and indelible loss.

30 review for How to Forget: A Daughter's Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Char

    Narrated by the author, HOW TO FORGET: A DAUGHTER'S MEMOIR is an incredibly intimate and detailed account of how Kate Mulgrew and her family cared and provided for their sick parents. In brief, her father had an aggressive form of lung cancer that spread throughout his body and her mother had Alzheimer's disease. I felt like I had to read this book as my dad also died from an aggressive form of lung cancer, and my mom is battling Alzheimer's disease right now. I read Mulgrew's previous memoir BO Narrated by the author, HOW TO FORGET: A DAUGHTER'S MEMOIR is an incredibly intimate and detailed account of how Kate Mulgrew and her family cared and provided for their sick parents. In brief, her father had an aggressive form of lung cancer that spread throughout his body and her mother had Alzheimer's disease. I felt like I had to read this book as my dad also died from an aggressive form of lung cancer, and my mom is battling Alzheimer's disease right now. I read Mulgrew's previous memoir BORN WITH TEETH, and I enjoyed it. She narrated that book as well. (She's an EXCELLENT narrator overall; I loved her performance of Joe Hill's NOS4A2.) I found her account to be poignant and sad but I was also a bit peeved and I'll tell you why. This is a purely personal thing, and maybe it has a tinge of envy on my part, to be honest. In America, it is much easier to get old, get sick, or get old AND sick, if you have money. The choices available to you when you have money are varied and numerous. When you are poor or even middle class, that is not the case. Not everyone can take leave from their job to nurse a sick parent. Not everyone can hire people to move in with their parents to help take some of the burden off the family. Not everyone can buy an entire house to make caring for a family member easier either. It irked me that Ms. Mulgrew never acknowledged such in this book. *Gets up on soapbox.* Let me be clear, I am not envious of Kate's money, she's an excellent actress, narrator and writer, she earned it. What I am envious of is the QUALITY OF CARE that Kate and her family were able to provide to their parents. Being a working class/middle class person, I cannot even begin to provide my mother the care she deserves. Quality of medical care and end of life care should not be based on wallet size. *Steps down from soapbox.* That aside, I'm glad that I listened to this book. I feel less alone-I feel like other people have gone through what I am going through right now, and somehow that helps lessen my pain. I think I'm also able to empathize a bit more with my mom's situation, though I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it was viewing what she is going through, through a different set of eyes? Whatever the reason, I found myself more patient yesterday with my mom and I think that made it easier on both of us. I recommend this book, especially to those trying to deal with sick parents, while still trying to work and maintain their own sanity. If only for the reason that HOW TO FORGET makes you feel less alone. Because that is no small thing. *Thank you to my public library for the free audio download. Libraries RULE!*

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I didn't read Kate Mulgrew's earlier memoir (Born with Teeth) but this is really much more about her parents, particularly the ends of their lives and how she and her siblings were present for those long and painful periods of deterioration and change. Mulgrew is perceptive but really only talks about herself in relation to everyone else.. maybe that's life in a giant family. It's a nice comparison of stoic Midwesterners and their New York City actress daughter. I had a copy from William Morrow I didn't read Kate Mulgrew's earlier memoir (Born with Teeth) but this is really much more about her parents, particularly the ends of their lives and how she and her siblings were present for those long and painful periods of deterioration and change. Mulgrew is perceptive but really only talks about herself in relation to everyone else.. maybe that's life in a giant family. It's a nice comparison of stoic Midwesterners and their New York City actress daughter. I had a copy from William Morrow Books through Netgalley and it came out May 21, 2019.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    “He died first, quickly and quietly. It was like my father to outwit my mother, even at the end.” This is a tender felt story of the death of Kate’s parents... and ....siblings dealings... .....messy, flawed, and real. Coffee, cigarettes, vodka... were relished by her father. Kate’s dad was 83 years old. Kate’s brother, Joe, called to share the news. Their dad had cancer. Joe knew that out of all the siblings, Kate was the one in the best position to get their father the care he needed. And wow... “He died first, quickly and quietly. It was like my father to outwit my mother, even at the end.” This is a tender felt story of the death of Kate’s parents... and ....siblings dealings... .....messy, flawed, and real. Coffee, cigarettes, vodka... were relished by her father. Kate’s dad was 83 years old. Kate’s brother, Joe, called to share the news. Their dad had cancer. Joe knew that out of all the siblings, Kate was the one in the best position to get their father the care he needed. And wow.... what a page turning intimate outstanding memoir Kate wrote!! I gobbled it in one restless night of not being able to sleep. Kate Mulgrew is a screen and stage actress. She was the star in the series, “Orange is the New Black”. She also wrote the the book called, “Born with Teeth”. ( a book I also want to read) Kate was playing the role of Katherine Hepburn in a stage production- in West Palm Beach when she first got the news from about her dad. How she went on stage that night, is beyond me. Such a beautiful memoir about parents, siblings,( eight siblings), and about returning home - [to Iowa]. Kate’s father had lung cancer, that took him in three weeks. Her mother had Alzheimer’s disease. She died two years after her father. I’m such a sucker for a family tale of sincerity like this one is. We learned about Kate’s parents and her siblings, ( two died; heartbreaking for the entire family). There was so much heartbreak in this family .... But.. between the conflicts, secrets, silences, loss, constant family noise, children suffering and dying, there was love. This is the first book I’ve read by Kate Mulgrew. She’s not only a great actress but she’s a great storyteller. Reflective, harrowing, and intimately revealing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marina Kravchuk

    After reading “Born With Teeth”, Kate Mulgrew’s first book and a gem of a memoir, I could not wait to hear that a second one would be coming. “How to Forget” is a tremendous book! Not unlike the first memoir, I have swallowed it in a matter of hours, and then found myself needing several days to be able to articulate a more fitting opinion on it than simply “heart-rending”. This memoir is first and foremost about the lives and deaths of Kate’s parents, and about how her relationship with either on After reading “Born With Teeth”, Kate Mulgrew’s first book and a gem of a memoir, I could not wait to hear that a second one would be coming. “How to Forget” is a tremendous book! Not unlike the first memoir, I have swallowed it in a matter of hours, and then found myself needing several days to be able to articulate a more fitting opinion on it than simply “heart-rending”. This memoir is first and foremost about the lives and deaths of Kate’s parents, and about how her relationship with either one of them had shaped her own life. A truly no-holds-barred journey through memories in turn fond and poignant, full of wit and of profound sadness, each one of them told in almost devastatingly vivid and starkly frank detail. Kate has an extraordinary gift as a storyteller; her narrative so engaging, it is impossible not to sink into each chapter. I have to stress that, as captivating as these stories are, the subject matter of the book is very real, bound to affect many readers, and I cannot help but admire Kate’s fortitude not only in living through these experiences but also in sharing them, as deeply personal as they are.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bookgyrl

    I hardly ever read memoirs or biographies, but sometimes they catch my eye. In this case it is the second book by Kate Mulgrew (an actress most will recognize as Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek Voyager, or more recent in the series 'Orange is the new black'). A few years back she wrote 'Born with teeth', which was quite entertaining. She is a good and engaging author. Again this is a memoir, but not so much about Kate herself, but about the relationship with her parents. She takes us on a v I hardly ever read memoirs or biographies, but sometimes they catch my eye. In this case it is the second book by Kate Mulgrew (an actress most will recognize as Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek Voyager, or more recent in the series 'Orange is the new black'). A few years back she wrote 'Born with teeth', which was quite entertaining. She is a good and engaging author. Again this is a memoir, but not so much about Kate herself, but about the relationship with her parents. She takes us on a vivid journey through their lives and deaths. Very detailed, at times very amusing or very sad, but always very entertaining. Her writing about experiences that are very private and emotional kept me glued to the pages. I believe her stories will resonate with many. Pain, sorrow, joy and laughter, but above all else love and respect all come together in this book. *** I requested and received a digital ARC via Edelweiss. This is my honest and voluntary review. ***

  6. 4 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    How to Forget Families are messy. They are tender and precious; what you work and fight for; the tribe that holds the keys to Home, that place from which you run, or to which you return, at a run, or in a reluctant walk, or on a nostalgic shuffle. You know they have to let you in if you present yourself, however you present yourself. Families give you your first glimpses of how Pairs are going to feature in your life. Love/Hate. Happy/Sad. Hungry/Full. His/Hers. Easy/Difficult. Comfortable/Uncomf How to Forget Families are messy. They are tender and precious; what you work and fight for; the tribe that holds the keys to Home, that place from which you run, or to which you return, at a run, or in a reluctant walk, or on a nostalgic shuffle. You know they have to let you in if you present yourself, however you present yourself. Families give you your first glimpses of how Pairs are going to feature in your life. Love/Hate. Happy/Sad. Hungry/Full. His/Hers. Easy/Difficult. Comfortable/Uncomfortable. Trust/Don’t. Kate Mulgrew’s book, separated into two parts, the first about Dad, and the second about Mom. Within its pages she describes the love affair that started her parents’ family, her own natal family, where Capt. Janeway was simply a part she played, one of many, in that means to an end, “a job.” Like her, I went from one day being as I always had been, the “kid” to full-blown caregiver for my parents as they aged, and passed. It was easy to follow along Kate’s story and sympathize, remember and pine. There’s an adjustment when you realize that what you had in your crazy family unit really was unrepeatable, priceless and rare. You wonder if it was enough, is there a way back to it, without giving up what you’ve gained in the meantime, and one is left at the Dead-End sign that turns you around, or forces you to create a new way. I appreciated the author’s caring about capturing moments in her writing, and while there were assumptions as to what her muted parents may have been thinking, clearly as their child she was as expert as any human would be on that topic, having spent her childhood memorizing them. Narratives move an event along, but the moments, carefully presented with all their nooks and crannies are what makes a Tale, complete with sunshine and shadows. Kate Mulgrew did a very respectable job of this particularly dicey topic. Writing of one’s own parents falling apart cannot be an undemanding task, and there are so many ways to lose a willing audience even when it is the truth that is told! She kept me engaged, to the very last word. I get it, Captain. Life is a worthy struggle. Death is, too.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

    This is a fantastic memoir. Gorgeously written and incredibly intimate, Kate Mulgrew details the last few months of her parents’ lives, as her father battled cancer and her mother Alzheimer’s. Interspersed throughout those present-day memories are stories of her parents from when she was a child, and when they themselves were young: how they met, and grew together, and how she and her siblings’ relationships with them, like all of us, were at once loving and conflicted. This memoir is heartfelt, This is a fantastic memoir. Gorgeously written and incredibly intimate, Kate Mulgrew details the last few months of her parents’ lives, as her father battled cancer and her mother Alzheimer’s. Interspersed throughout those present-day memories are stories of her parents from when she was a child, and when they themselves were young: how they met, and grew together, and how she and her siblings’ relationships with them, like all of us, were at once loving and conflicted. This memoir is heartfelt, poignant, and moving, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kazzie

    I have read Kate Mulgrew's premiere memoir, "Born With Teeth" roughly five times and I had recently read it in April. When 'How To Forget' was announced and that it was about Mulgrew's relationship with her parents, I was instantly intrigued. I have been following Mulgrew's career for close to twenty years and I have heard a myriad of stories about her parents, her upbringing, her siblings and her mother's battle with Alzheimer's Disease. Where 'Born With Teeth' barely touched about that disease I have read Kate Mulgrew's premiere memoir, "Born With Teeth" roughly five times and I had recently read it in April. When 'How To Forget' was announced and that it was about Mulgrew's relationship with her parents, I was instantly intrigued. I have been following Mulgrew's career for close to twenty years and I have heard a myriad of stories about her parents, her upbringing, her siblings and her mother's battle with Alzheimer's Disease. Where 'Born With Teeth' barely touched about that disease, I was interested to see how 'How To Forget' would expand upon it. Mulgrew has an undeniable gift with words. She is fiercely articulate and I always find myself needing a dictionary close-to-hand when reading anything by her. In 'How To Forget,' I found myself being witness to my own thoughts appearing on a page written by someone that I have admired for two-thirds of my life. That surprised me and took me aback. I found myself being witness to a new and heartbreakingly vulnerable side to Mulgrew. She does not try to hide how her parents' illnesses and deaths broke her heart and broke the hearts of her siblings. She is able to articulate with such skill something that I didn't know that I had felt and did not know how to verbalise when I watched my own father pass away from a terminal disease. This book truly struck a chord with me. I annotated this book as I read and I am so glad that I did because it helped me to absorb it and make peace with my own frustrations and pains. It is unwaveringly honest, heartbreaking, poignant and in places, wickedly hilarious. Kate Mulgrew's strength throughout this book is truly inspiring. She has never painted herself as a saint in either of her memoirs. She gives over to the reader a very personal, subjective and vulnerable narrative and you can tell that she needed to get this off of her chest. There were moments when I wanted to reach for the tissues and that I simply wanted to give her the biggest hug imaginable. Even if you are not a fan of Kate Mulgrew or have been a fan for years, I would highly recommend this book. For someone that has lost a parent to a degenerative and wasting disease, Mulgrew's words made an impact that I will never forget and will find difficult to describe.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    My review of Mulgrew's first memoir ended with the wish that she had not ended it 13 years prior to publication since there was still so much to learn about her. At that time, she said she'd had to wait until the deaths of both parents before writing her history, and this book is an explanation almost an apologia, since it is her parents' stories, and hers only as it relates to them and to her seven siblings. The Mulgrews of Dubuque were a rambunctious but well regarded family, not civic leaders, My review of Mulgrew's first memoir ended with the wish that she had not ended it 13 years prior to publication since there was still so much to learn about her. At that time, she said she'd had to wait until the deaths of both parents before writing her history, and this book is an explanation almost an apologia, since it is her parents' stories, and hers only as it relates to them and to her seven siblings. The Mulgrews of Dubuque were a rambunctious but well regarded family, not civic leaders, merely midwesterners that were illuminated by the fact that their mother was from "back East," an intimate of the Kennedy family, an aspiring artist. Kate tells more about her father's early history, probably because she had more familiarity with that branch being more local. Her portraits of her siblings is uneven, some are not individualized at all and given very little pagespace. She was only 18 when she followed her dream to NY, reversing the story of her mother, but family ties were close, and as she rose to take her place as one of the most respected actors of her generation and managed her personal life, she still held her family dear, providing financial and moral support when needed. The first part deals with her father's history, illness and rapid death, because "he went first." Her mother, stricken with atypical Alzheimer's disease, had been deteriorating for six years by that point, and the second part minutely and wrenchingly describes Joan's decline and eventual mental paralysis. I can see why Kate felt she had to step aside from the progress of her own life and examine those who shaped her. I am hopeful she will continue with her own story in a future volume.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rosie O'Donnell

    I just can't get over how touching and relevant this beautifully written book is. buy it - read it - you will be profoundly moved.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    Kate Mulgrew is an actor. She has acted on stage, in the movies, and on television. She may be best known as "Admiral Kathryn Janeway" on the TV show "Star Trek: Voyager" in the late 1990's and currently she's in the cast of "Orange is the New Black". She is one of those actors who always seems to have a part in something, she's always working. But as with any actor, what you see on the stage or the screen is only a piece of the real person. Her excellent first memoir, "Born With Teeth", publish Kate Mulgrew is an actor. She has acted on stage, in the movies, and on television. She may be best known as "Admiral Kathryn Janeway" on the TV show "Star Trek: Voyager" in the late 1990's and currently she's in the cast of "Orange is the New Black". She is one of those actors who always seems to have a part in something, she's always working. But as with any actor, what you see on the stage or the screen is only a piece of the real person. Her excellent first memoir, "Born With Teeth", published a few years ago, looks at her younger life and first years in her career. She's returned with a new book, "How to Forget: A Daughter's Memoir", which is the story of her parents' deaths. If you're looking for a feel-good book, look elsewhere. Mulgrew's parents died within a two year period. Her father died three weeks after a diagnosis of metastatic lung cancer. He chose not to take any treatment, preferring not to endure great discomfort simply to prolong his life a month or two. Her mother died - at least physically - about two years later, after having lived with "a-typical Alzheimers" disease for eight years. Those years were terrible both for "Jick" Mulgrew and her surviving six children. Her husband seemed to just go into himself during the years of his wife's illness before his own death. But Jick and Tom Mulgrew, married 50 years and the parents of eight children had devolved into separate lives years before. Kate Mulgrew spares no one in her story, including herself. She writes about relations with her siblings as they navigate their parents' dying and deaths. She delves into her parents' marriage of two people of opposite natures and the problems within that marriage. Mulgrew's story is an honest look at how siblings deal with their parents' lives...and deaths. It's well worth reading.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Actress Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek Voyager, Orange Is the New Black) follows up her candid and thoughtful 2015 memoir, BORN WITH TEETH, with an equally forthright and emotionally raw tale of caring for her parents at the end of their lives. When her father is diagnosed with stage-four cancer that has spread from his lungs to brain stem, liver and kidneys, Mulgrew's return visit to her home state of Iowa is extended indefinitely. Six years earlier, her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease an Actress Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek Voyager, Orange Is the New Black) follows up her candid and thoughtful 2015 memoir, BORN WITH TEETH, with an equally forthright and emotionally raw tale of caring for her parents at the end of their lives. When her father is diagnosed with stage-four cancer that has spread from his lungs to brain stem, liver and kidneys, Mulgrew's return visit to her home state of Iowa is extended indefinitely. Six years earlier, her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and continued living at home thanks to a full-time caregiver. HOW TO FORGET tenderly chronicles Mulgrew's decision to care for her parents over the last two years of their lives. With crystal clarity and sharp insight, Mulgrew paints a complicated family portrait as rich and complex as families in Pat Conroy's epic novels. As an adult, Mulgrew sees her parents and siblings with a fresh perspective. She realizes that one of the unspoken tenets of her parents' relationship was "they should never be emotionally vulnerable to each other, that such exposure could only lead to trouble." Mulgrew also writes beautifully of the way families are often torn apart--rather than united--by loss. "We longed to reach out to one another, but at every turn this instinct was thwarted, tangled in a web of suspicion and resentment," she writes. "As much as we had loved one another in the fullness of life, we hated what we had become when that wholeness was eclipsed by loss." How to Forget is an unforgettable, tender and loving memoir of acceptance and loss. Kate Mulgrew's perceptive and beautifully written memoir of caring for her dying parents packs an emotional wallop.

  13. 4 out of 5

    William (Bill) Fluke

    Read this book based on glowing reviews and see many such reviews here. No more than a 3 for me. I love a good memoir but to put this on the same level as “Educated” (a true 5 star) would be a travesty. Two very sad accounts of the death of her two parents. A good glimpse into what it must be like to watch a loved one wither away from Alzheimer’s but not sure that is what people want to experience with the author. The inside book jacket refers to author uncovering “long kept secrets” and not sur Read this book based on glowing reviews and see many such reviews here. No more than a 3 for me. I love a good memoir but to put this on the same level as “Educated” (a true 5 star) would be a travesty. Two very sad accounts of the death of her two parents. A good glimpse into what it must be like to watch a loved one wither away from Alzheimer’s but not sure that is what people want to experience with the author. The inside book jacket refers to author uncovering “long kept secrets” and not sure I could I could identify those from my read only that perhaps it refers to Mulgrew’s relationship with a much older man when she was younger than 18 that confused me in its telling and was glossed over in terms of how Mulgrew evaluates that troubling experience now with hindsight. Not familiar with Mulgrew’s acting but likely better than her writing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Hott

    I read 'Born With Teeth' and looked forward to 'How to Forget' when she announced it. Both memoirs are incredibly well written. Ms Mulgrew has a love of the English language that is astounding, I was glad my EReader has a dictionary. I work with Seniors, many of whom suffer from Dementia and the Dementia Umbrella. The opportunity to read about a family that dealt with this and get an insite to their thinking was unique. Ms Mulgrew and her siblings dealt with many emotions and conflicts. She tell I read 'Born With Teeth' and looked forward to 'How to Forget' when she announced it. Both memoirs are incredibly well written. Ms Mulgrew has a love of the English language that is astounding, I was glad my EReader has a dictionary. I work with Seniors, many of whom suffer from Dementia and the Dementia Umbrella. The opportunity to read about a family that dealt with this and get an insite to their thinking was unique. Ms Mulgrew and her siblings dealt with many emotions and conflicts. She tells their story as honestly as she can. She is able to speak with courage and dignity. I recommend both books.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Watkins

    Overall, disappointing. The book is divided into two parts. The first addresses the final illness of her father. I found the narrative skeletal and woefully overwritten. The second, somewhat longer, section about the slow disappearance of her mother into Alzheimers disease more compelling and considerably more fleshed out. The second part, too, though, could have benefited from more robust editing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ivana

    Kate Mulgrew kicks it out of the park yet again with her second book “How To Forget”. Poignant, wonderfully written, hardly an easy read but she still manages to suck you right into the story. It will captivate you, it will break your heart if you’ve ever been in a position of fighting a battle close to home, it most certainly won’t disappoint. No spoilers, pick up the book and read it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gemma

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was really impressed with her first book but found this one disappointing. Kate Mulgrew is an excellent actress and a very good writer and entertainer but comes across as unfortunately self-absorbed and almost narcissistic in this book. Obviously, this is a memoir and she's writing from her own point of view and through her own experiences, but I felt that she took some liberties in the storytelling that could not enable me to really trust her as a narrator (some stories she claims to have 'im I was really impressed with her first book but found this one disappointing. Kate Mulgrew is an excellent actress and a very good writer and entertainer but comes across as unfortunately self-absorbed and almost narcissistic in this book. Obviously, this is a memoir and she's writing from her own point of view and through her own experiences, but I felt that she took some liberties in the storytelling that could not enable me to really trust her as a narrator (some stories she claims to have 'imagined' - otherwise known as made up - but are told with such detail that I felt that she was trying to trick the reader into thinking they were real). Most of her siblings seemed to have stayed closer to the hometown than she did but they barely got a mention in the first half of the book. Clearly she came home a fair bit, but I don't think the brothers and sisters really got the acknowledgment for the care of their parents that they probably deserved. Chapters would go by without them getting a mention and you wouldn't be blamed for forgetting they existed at all and believe that Kate exclusively took care of her parents (at least her father - they do get more screen time in the second half about her mother) in their old age. One of the most telling parts of the story was where she described how she got her mother to appoint her as the person who would make the decisions about her care with no discussion with the rest of the family, including her father who would have been the natural choice for this role. Pretty sneaky on her part and to her credit (I think?!) she doesn't really try to hide this underhandedness. The second part of the book was better than the first, mostly because her mother seemed to be so much more of a personality (though she wasn't going to be winning any Mother-of-the-Year awards) and her decline in her final years was all the more tragic but would have been more poignant if by this point I wasn't so mistrusting of the person telling the story. Also, it often felt like she was being unnecessarily wordy or using big words just to show off her vocabulary and to make the reader feel a bit stupid in comparison. I wanted to enjoy this book but didn't. Not because it was extremely depressing (it was) but because it tarnished my admiration of a personality I had great respect for. In short, I liked Kate Mugrew a lot before reading her book and I liked her a lot less afterwards. I doubt this was her intention.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jo Marjoribanks

    ‘How to Forget’ delves into every aspect of life and its inevitable end with unflinching frankness and honesty: the beauty and the ugliness; the clarity and the confusion; the joy and the sadness. All told through Kate’s mastery of the English language and decades of experience in conveying complex and elusive emotions to her audience. Losing a parent is like watching the door through which you entered the world swing shut forever. Chances are you didn’t get everything you needed from the other ‘How to Forget’ delves into every aspect of life and its inevitable end with unflinching frankness and honesty: the beauty and the ugliness; the clarity and the confusion; the joy and the sadness. All told through Kate’s mastery of the English language and decades of experience in conveying complex and elusive emotions to her audience. Losing a parent is like watching the door through which you entered the world swing shut forever. Chances are you didn’t get everything you needed from the other side. There will be unanswered questions; half-forgotten memories that will never fully coalesce in the absence of the person you shared them with; parts of your identity that will suddenly become untethered and unfamiliar. These painful realities are keenly felt in ‘How to Forget’, and explored through experiences that are both unique to Kate’s family and universal in their depiction of the finality of death and the grief and disorientation that follow it. Even if you do not count yourself among Kate’s legions of fans, I would still highly recommend this book. Death does not care about celebrity, and Kate’s status as a talented and dedicated actress takes second stage to her incredible ability to eloquently examine the most painful parts of being human, in ways that will speak to anyone who has known loss, love and the intricacies of family relationships.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh Read

    This book is breathtaking. You may be wondering if you have to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy this book; you do not (I am not). You may be wondering if her acting career is what got this book greenlit; it is not. Kate Mulgrew has a way with words. She tells her stories in such a captivating way. I couldn’t recommend this book more highly. I’ll be honest - it took me a long time to finish this book. Too long if you ask the friend who loaned it to me ;). I feel, though, like a good memoir can’t be de This book is breathtaking. You may be wondering if you have to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy this book; you do not (I am not). You may be wondering if her acting career is what got this book greenlit; it is not. Kate Mulgrew has a way with words. She tells her stories in such a captivating way. I couldn’t recommend this book more highly. I’ll be honest - it took me a long time to finish this book. Too long if you ask the friend who loaned it to me ;). I feel, though, like a good memoir can’t be devoured. How can you digest a life in a single sitting, or even in a single week or two or three? No, this book, like all great memoirs, made me think. I went on the journey with the author, and sometimes that required stepping away for a time to mourn her losses. But the book is so compelling that I always came back. I always wanted to hear more. I’ve read quite a few memoirs, and the good ones always organize the stories they choose to tell around a key theme or event. How to Forget is organized around the author’s parents - their lives and their deaths. The effortless way she weaves childhood and early adulthood narratives through the consistent narratives of her parents’ final years is incredible. It feels completely natural and effortless to weave back and forth through time, and there is never a moment’s challenge in following the timeline. It is truly a work of art. And yet somehow it also feels like a conversation with a friend - the way stories are told in conversation, the ways they weave in and out of the present day, is captured in this book. If you’re a fan of Star Trek or Kate Mulgrew’s other acting endeavors and that’s why you’re interested in this book, you won’t be disappointed - you will thoroughly enjoy getting to know more about an actress you admire. If you are not a fan of Star Trek, you will be entertained, riveted, heartbroken, and comforted by this beautiful, universal tale of family and all it entails.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jarrah

    In How to Forget, Kate Mulgrew plumbs the depths of her parents' lives as she processes their declines and deaths. As someone who lost a parent almost two years ago I was struck by Mulgrew's courage and candor. She lays bare her own hopes and fears and revelations, as well as those of her siblings. She also shares complex family secrets with incredible empathy. Mulgrew seems to have an incredible memory for detail, which she uses to sketch out each scene and its characters to help us envision th In How to Forget, Kate Mulgrew plumbs the depths of her parents' lives as she processes their declines and deaths. As someone who lost a parent almost two years ago I was struck by Mulgrew's courage and candor. She lays bare her own hopes and fears and revelations, as well as those of her siblings. She also shares complex family secrets with incredible empathy. Mulgrew seems to have an incredible memory for detail, which she uses to sketch out each scene and its characters to help us envision them fully. Compared to her first memoir, Born With Teeth, How to Forget is a little less conversational, and there are a couple of points where it feels a bit over-written with flowery vocabulary. But overall it's a stunning book. I particularly appreciated the section on Mulgrew's mother (the book is divided into two parts, one for each parent), which was heartbreaking but also very human, representing the quotidian moments that pepper the life of a patient with Alzheimer's disease.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Haly

    Kate Mulgrew brings to life the stories involving her father and mother from the time of her early childhood, teenage years, and to the point where both pass (mother from Alzheimer's Disease and her father from lung cancer). Through her intimate and detailed story-telling, you are woven into her complicated and loving clan. You experience the depths of her love for both parents, and how she in turn becomes a caregiver toward her own mother and father. Coming from a large family, there are times Kate Mulgrew brings to life the stories involving her father and mother from the time of her early childhood, teenage years, and to the point where both pass (mother from Alzheimer's Disease and her father from lung cancer). Through her intimate and detailed story-telling, you are woven into her complicated and loving clan. You experience the depths of her love for both parents, and how she in turn becomes a caregiver toward her own mother and father. Coming from a large family, there are times where her siblings and relatives are included, but this mostly focuses on Kate's own memories and experiences. Brought along on the fiery romance between her parents, their marriage and life together, this memoir is unapologetically honest in all aspects. The loss of children that destroyed their faith, a somewhat turbulent marriage spanning 50 years, and a blazing determination that kept them all together is nothing short of heartbreaking and amazing. Love is beyond comprehension.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Boldon

    The subject and the content is better than the execution. At times overwritten (e.g., the word ineffable should only be used once per book), Mulgrew's affection for her parents is huge, and the stories she tells are engaging. She's a compelling entertainer. But the division of the book in two side by side halves left me unclear on the parents' relationship. A structure that was more interwoven, or linear in time, might have served the subjects better. I think the focus Mulgrew was trying for was The subject and the content is better than the execution. At times overwritten (e.g., the word ineffable should only be used once per book), Mulgrew's affection for her parents is huge, and the stories she tells are engaging. She's a compelling entertainer. But the division of the book in two side by side halves left me unclear on the parents' relationship. A structure that was more interwoven, or linear in time, might have served the subjects better. I think the focus Mulgrew was trying for was how she attended the deaths of both her parents, but the heart of the book was her mother, which the structure undermined. Sometimes Mulgrew was coy with details, especially about her father, and this made it hard to trust her as a narrator, despite declaring herself incapable of lying. Many of the anecdotes crossed that fine line between too much information and the sharing of hard truths, the distinction between which is at the heart of successful memoir. Yet in the end, the story of how siblings struggle as parents age, sicken and die, is a moving and universal one that I can particularly relate to right now, and there is much truth and beauty here.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kellie Reynolds

    I listened to the audiobook, read by the author. The main focus of this memoir by actress Kate Mulgrew is her response to her father’s short battle with aggressive lung cancer and her mother’s approximately 5 years with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The background information about some of her grandparents and how her parents met sets the stage for the family dynamics. Her parents watched two of their eight children due, which significantly altered their view of life. Although the overall tone of th I listened to the audiobook, read by the author. The main focus of this memoir by actress Kate Mulgrew is her response to her father’s short battle with aggressive lung cancer and her mother’s approximately 5 years with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The background information about some of her grandparents and how her parents met sets the stage for the family dynamics. Her parents watched two of their eight children due, which significantly altered their view of life. Although the overall tone of the book is sad, there were many light and funny passages. Mulgrew and her siblings had to make difficult decisions as they dealt with illnesses of each parent. There are no perfect answers in these situations.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kelly 💜☕️

    Another great celebrity memoir by Kate Mulgrew! I really enjoyed her first book. This one gets more into her family history with stories of her parents and siblings. Thanks to San Diego County Library for the digital audio version via Libby app. [Audio: 12 hours, 6 minutes]

  25. 5 out of 5

    Delany

    Tough to choose which is my favorite of the two memoirs Mulgrew has written; they were both engrossing, beautifully written, and (apparently) unflinchingly honest. She really is a wonderful writer. The themes and relationships she writes about are universal types, and just about anyone is likely to be deeply engrossed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linden

    Well-written memoir about author's family, particularly her unconventional parents.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jill Martinez

    Although I love Kate Mulgrew as an actress, I wasn't as engaged with her story of her parents decline due to her obvious privilege. The best parts of the book were her recollection of such a strange relationship with her parents while coming of age.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Brown

    I had to stop reading this amazing book a few times, because the pain and real emotions Mulgrew detailed about the relationships she had with her parents, and the dysfunction of her family, that I had to process how personal a story this was. To imagine that I only knew Kate Mulgrew as Captain Janeway in "Star Trek: Voyager" and Red in "Orange is the New Black" before this book. I now see her as the progenitor of a love of her family and a storyteller rivaled by very few in this life.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I loved this book!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

    After listening to Kate Mulgrew's memoir on her own life, "Born With Teeth," (which I highly recommend, by the way, and encourage reading before this follow-up memoir) I knew I wanted to read this follow-up as well. Similarly to her first book, the audiobook for this memoir is narrated by Kate herself, which adds an exquisite extra layer to the top of the experience this book provides. Mulgrew writes about the events in this book as if it happened yesterday and is still crystal clear in her mind After listening to Kate Mulgrew's memoir on her own life, "Born With Teeth," (which I highly recommend, by the way, and encourage reading before this follow-up memoir) I knew I wanted to read this follow-up as well. Similarly to her first book, the audiobook for this memoir is narrated by Kate herself, which adds an exquisite extra layer to the top of the experience this book provides. Mulgrew writes about the events in this book as if it happened yesterday and is still crystal clear in her mind, and her emotional responses to the situations described come through clearly as well. While the subject matter of the events leading up to the deaths of her parents is definitely somber and less exciting than her first book, the way she tells the stories breathe life into them and keep them interesting from start to finish. It feels like two books in one, focusing on each parent one at a time, and by the end I find that I have been emotionally affected myself by the way in which she writes about death and the road leading up to it. I highly recommend this memoir, particularly for those who have lost family members close to them — part two, about her mother, deeply resonated with me as I could see remarkable parallels between her mother's Alzheimer's and my late grandfather's dementia. It won't be an easy read emotionally, but I do encourage you to embark on the journey regardless.

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