Monday, September 5, 2016

They Left Us Everything; Plum Johnson

They Left Us Everything; Plum Johnson
(a memoir)
G.P. Putnam  & Sons 2016

They Left Us Everything was such an enjoyable memoir. It's the kind of story that anyone dealing with eldercare issues should be able to relate to.

When Plum Johnson's 93 year old mother died, she took on the task of cleaning out the 23 room house her parents had raised the family in since 1950. Located in Toronto Canada on the shores of Lake Ontario, the location more than the house in its current state made it prime real estate property.
Plum was the oldest child, in her early 60's at the time of her mothers death. She had three younger brothers. For 20 years she had been caregiver to her parents, first to her father with dementia and after his death, to her demanding mother who lived 40 minutes away.

As Plum begins the task of cleaning out her parents home, each nook and cranny she shifts through, unearths memories and things about her parents she never knew. She sorts through personal letters and childhood memories which stir much emotion.

I loved this story from the family dynamics to how what she thought what would be a 6 week project took her16 months to complete  An intimate look at the mother/daughter relationship, a journey on life and loss, and definitely a story that will make you appreciate the time spent with family while you have the chance.

4.5/5 stars
(review copy)


23 comments:

  1. Both Carl and I have lost one parent and, so far, we've not had to care for the ones we have left. They're both old, though, so I'm sure we can relate to this book.

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  2. My parents have been gone since the late 80s but, I think this is a good book for any adult child to read. It's a topic we all avoid dealing with it seems

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  3. Oh, these are familiar issues to many of us, and I love the sound of this book. Thanks for sharing, Diane. Glad it resonated with you.

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    1. Yes, I think most regardless of age will be left with plenty to think about after reading this one.

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  4. This sounds fascinating and poignant. I love books that deal with family dynamics and this sounds really good.

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    1. So well done, I hope you will try it sometime.

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  5. Oh that is such an easy story to relate to here.

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  6. I'm eager to read this one! Glad you enjoyed it, Diane.

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  7. This sounds like my cup of tea; I read a lot of memoirs and am a volunteer at a retirement/dementia care home. Plus, I admit to aging myself, ha ha.

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    1. Terra, you will like this one based on your comment.

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  8. This does sound wonderful. I think this is the type of book I may not have appreciated fully when I was much younger but now dealing with an elderly mom I probably would be able to relate to it much more.

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    1. It's funny how younger people (including me back then) just don't think about these things.

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  9. This sounds excellent, Diane. I've added it to my wish list.

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    1. Yes Joann with aging parents this will be a book you will appreciate IMO.

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  10. Sounds like compulsory reading for all. We eventually all face this but this "clearing out" business has me puzzled. I've read many many books with this aspect of it. I would have thought by the 80s we would have done a lot of clearing out ourselves! In my sixties now, I've cleared out lots!

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    1. I have cleared out plenty to now that I'm in my 60s but, there are many people who can't part with things and apparently leave it to those left behind to deal with.

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  11. I can definitely relate to this book. I took care of my husbands grandmother for about 10 years, and also took care of my mom and dad. Going through their things after they passed brought back a lot of good memories, but it was also very sad.

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  12. Oh, I'm so very glad that you've made me aware of this book. My mom is 93, and because she's in an Alzheimer's Unit now, we went through her papers and things last February. Quite a few surprises--eek. Well, I don't think this is unusual at all. I am getting this book immediately, because I've enjoyed others on the same theme. Hope you are well!! Judith

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    1. I love these kind of stories as well. Your mother has had a long life; mine mom was 69 and father 72 when they died.

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  13. Though my parents have been gone for several years now, I still have a hard time reading this type of story. I did read one that made me feel good: Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates.

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