Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review: Don't Leave Yet by Constance Hanstedt

Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Don't Leave Yet.  We received a copy of Constance Hanstedt's book for an honest review.

About the book:

As a young girl in the Midwest, Constance Hanstedt was consumed by fear—of her parents, especially her disapproving mother, Virginia; of social situations; and of people in general. Unable to connect with those around her, she embraced perfectionism as a substitute for love. Raising her own family eased some of Hanstedt’s self-doubt. But even as an adult she remained guarded around her mother, avoiding conflict at all costs. Still, when Virginia developed Alzheimer’s, Hanstedt did what the perfect daughter she’d always struggled to be would do: she returned to the Midwestern town where she was raised to help care for a mother who could no longer care for herself. In Don’t Leave Yet, Hanstedt recounts her journey toward facing her fears and rising above the past; her mother’s unrelenting bitterness regarding life, even as she loses memories of it; and her unexpected discovery of an emotion that reaches beyond familial duty: compassion.
This book is more than just the a woman's life with dementia and Alzheimer's.  This book is about Constance's relationship with her mother.  Constance had a childhood that she tried to run from and be the mother to her own child that she felt like she did not get.  This book gives flashbacks of Constance's childhood and the relationship she had with Virginia growing up.  As her mother's memory is be taken away, Constance starts to understand why her mother is the way she is.  She is also able to come to terms with her family's history of mental illness.  I think this would be a very comforting read for anyone that has had a tumultuous relationship with a parent or anyone that has someone deal with this disease or mental illness.  It was a very fast read and a great way to show what the human spirit can overcome! 
Buy the book:
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books

About the author:

Constance is an author, poet, and business owner living in Northern California. Her poetry has appeared in the Comstock Review, Calyx, Rattle, the Naugatuck River Review, and many other literary journals. Her poem "Ode to Beige" was published in Diane Lockward's The Crafty Poet (2013), a collection of poems, prompts, craft tips, and interviews. 

Don't Leave Yet, How My Mother's Alzheimer's Opened My Heart is Constance's first book (published April 2015 by She Writes Press). It also was a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association memoir competition in 2011.

Connect with the author:

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