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Moments of Glad Grace by Alison Wearing is an eloquent and enjoyable Canadian memoir about family, aging, and love. Joe, an eighty-year-old living with Parkinson’s disease, invites his daughter Alison on a week-long trip to Ireland in search of roots and genealogical discoveries. Although Alison has very little personal interest in genealogy (evident from her misinterpreting it for gynecology at a younger age), she accompanies her father. What follows is an adventure that becomes more about father-daughter bonding then finding answers about their family. Especially when those answers may not even be there in the first place.
The narrative of this book was delightful and comical to read. I couldn’t help but picture myself and my own dad, who is approaching seventy, as I was reading. But I know our trip would be quite different (perhaps having more to do with Tai-Chi than genealogy!). The chemistry and banter between Joe and Alison is endearing and it demonstrates the strength of their relationship.
I truly appreciated how the author told her story. She references making jot notes about her dad’s unique traits and lovable quirks. I thought that was really sweet. It shows the love and adoration that Alison has for her dad. If you have a loved one with Parkinson’s disease, you will relate to Alison’s inner struggle about when to help her dad and when to let him be. I understand that family members can often feel helpless, not knowing whether to draw attention to a certain movement or ignore it altogether. That makes this story all the more bittersweet as it is truly filled with both love and heartbreak.
The description about Ireland that Alison weaves into her writing is wonderful. I felt like I was walking the streets of Dublin and entering the libraries and research facilities with her and Joe. What reading this book brings to my mind is the saying ‘Life is about the journey, not the destination.‘ I think you will agree.(4 / 5)
Moments of Glad Grace by Alison Wearing is out Tuesday, April 7th.
Thank you to ECW Press for the advanced reader’s copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.
In case you missed it, check out my previous book review of The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya.