In this lyrical and deeply moving memoir, one of America’s most revered actresses weaves stories of her adventures and travels with her mother, while reflecting on the beautiful spirit that persists even in the face of her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Marcia Gay Harden knew at a young age that her life would be anything but ordinary. One of five lively children born to two Texas natives—Beverly, a proper Dallas lady, and Thad, a young naval officer—she always had a knack for storytelling, role-playing, and adventure. As a military family, the Hardens moved often, and their travels eventually took them to Yokohama, off the coast of Japan, during the Vietnam War era. It was here that Beverly, amid the many challenges of raising her family abroad, found her own self-expression in ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging.
Using the philosophy of ikebana as her starting point, Marcia Gay Harden intertwines the seasons of her mother’s life with her own journey from precocious young girl to budding artist in New York City to Academy Award-winning actress. With a razor-sharp wit, as well as the kind of emotional honesty that has made her performances resonate with audiences worldwide, Marcia captures the joys and losses of life even as her precious mother gracefully strives to maintain her identity while coming to grips with Alzheimer’s disease.
Powerful and incredibly stirring, The Seasons of My Mother illustrates the unforgettable vulnerability and beauty of motherhood, as Marcia does what Beverly can no longer do: she remembers.
About the Author
Marcia Gay Harden is an actress of the stage, screen, and television. She is also an author, an advocate for Alzheimer’s research, a gardener, and a potter. She lives in Los Angeles and New York with her three children, two cats, and a dog. The fish stays in LA. Learn more from TheOfficialMarciaGayHarden.com and follow her on Twitter @MGH_8.
“A fiercely loving and tender tribute to Marcia Gay Harden’s mother, remembering for her and for us what Alzheimer’s has stolen, filling those darkened holes with compassion, acceptance, beauty, and love. I savored every page and didn’t want it to end.”— Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Every Note Played
“What a surprise to find that Marcia Gay Harden is as talented a writer as she is an actress. She has given us a heartbreakingly beautiful account of a devoted daughter coping with her lovely mother’s slow slide into Alzheimer’s. The book is like Marcia Gay herself – smart, charming, strong, funny, and vulnerable. Among other things, her account of Oscar night when she won for Best Supporting Actress made me laugh and cry at the same time. An elegantly-written, intelligent, and enjoyable read.”—Ellen Burstyn, Academy Award-winning actress and New York Times bestselling author of Lessons in Becoming Myself
“Honest, courageous, and often very funny, The Seasons of My Mother is an unforgettable testament to the unique endurance of the mother-daughter bond. I loved this book.”—Rob Lowe, Emmy Award-winning actor and New York Times bestselling author of Stories I Only Tell My Friends and Love Life
"From the start of this book there is something facing a time and place new to me, speaking a language Marcia is teaching me to understand: I promise you, you have not been here before. If motherhood has a destiny, it is the beautiful life on this road, in these fields, on these pages, where a great actor has told us a true story about her mother and the intelligence and happiness surrounding it."—Alvin Sargent, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Julia and Ordinary People
"Praise, love, and honor all play roles in this respectful, highly affectionate memoir about a spirited mother-daughter relationship."—Kirkus Reviews
"Marcia Gay Harden makes a literary statement with this moving story of her relationship with her mother, who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s."—Entertainment Weekly
“Poignant, beautiful . . . . Replete with emotionally resonant scenes, humor, and tales of Harden’s own journey as an actor, The Seasons of My Mother is both inspirational and devastating, a touching tribute to a remarkable woman.”—Booklist
“The devotion and heartbreak of a loving mother-daughter relationship are captured with affection and precision in this graceful memoir. Harden delivers a love letter to her mother, in which the extraordinary elements of her ordinary life shine through.”—Publishers Weekly
“The Oscar-winning actress showcases lyrical writing in this heartbreaking memoir.”— Entertainment Weekly
“Throughout this lush and lyrical memoir, Harden aptly demonstrates how her mother is ‘living’ with the disease and not ‘suffering’ from it….On every page of this moving, reverent and gorgeously written book, she has resplendently succeeded.”— Bookreporter.com
“[F]lowers and their meaning run through this intergenerational story, organized around the seasons and the blooms they bring to mind, Marcia’s childhood and her sometimes-spiky relationship with her parents. The description of her mother’s drift into the limbo of Alzheimer’s will be familiar to anyone dealing with a family member who has dementia, but the author sees through what has been lost….There is beauty here, and tragedy….But as an actor, Harden uses the persuasive strength of her voice to inhabit every line.”— New York Times