THE HABIT by Susan Morse


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A page-turning, humorous account of one woman’s experience during her difficult mother’s turbulent journey into old age.

When the author’s father died, Morse convinced her mother that moving closer to family would be a wise decision. This began “Operation Ma,” and the author became the “self-appointed CEO/CFO of Op Ma: a series of maneuvers we siblings design as we go, to make our mother’s years as a widow (left with suddenly limited resources and risky ideas) as comfortable and safe as possible.” Morse’s role as caretaker was complicated by her own daily needs as a mother of three teenagers and wife of actor David Morse. Not merely a rosy-cheeked grandmother, the author’s mother was highly unconventional: “Ma’s voracious intellectual curiosity and zest for living has taken her down many interesting paths,” writes Morse. Always searching for answers to life’s big questions, Ma’s short list of obsessions included Roman Catholicism, astrology, the Montessori method, transcendental meditation, Silva Mind Control, health food, vitamins, full-spectrum lights and Reiki. Pushy and determined, she inevitably dragged her family along through her exploration of new realms. Morse begins her memoir on the day when her 85-year-old mother became an Orthodox Christian nun, and moves the story along by jumping back in time and filling in with family history. The author analyzes why as a child she assumed the role of caretaker within the family, and she examines her family life a father who drank and gambled too much and a strong-willed, kooky mother.

A lively testament to a complicated though loving mother-daughter relationship.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4532-2290-4
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2011


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