Her Beautiful Brain: A Memoir

Her Beautiful Brain: A Memoir

by Ann Hedreen
Her Beautiful Brain: A Memoir

Her Beautiful Brain: A Memoir

by Ann Hedreen


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Her Beautiful Brain is Ann Hedreen’s story of what it was like to become a mom just as her beautiful, brainy mother began to lose her mind to an unforgiving disease. Arlene was a copper miner’s daughter who was divorced twice, widowed once, raised six kids singlehandedly, survived the turbulent ‘60s, and got her B.A. and M.A. at 40 so she could support her family as a Seattle schoolteacher—only to start showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease in her late fifties, taking Ann and her siblings on a long descent they never could have anticipated or imagined. For two decades—as Ann married, had a daughter and a son, navigated career changes and marital crises and built a life making documentary films with her husband—she watched her once-invincible mom disappear. From Seattle to Haiti to the mine-gouged Finntown neighborhood in Butte, Montana where she was born and grew up; from Arlene’s favorite tennis club to a locked geropsychiatric ward, Her Beautiful Brain tells the heartbreaking story of a daughter’s love for a mother who is lost in the wilderness of an unpredictable and harrowing illness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938314926
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication date: 09/16/2014
Pages: 196
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ann Hedreen is a writer, teacher, filmmaker and voice of the radio podcast and blog, The Restless Nest. Together, she and her husband Rustin Thompson have made more than 100 films, including five full-length documentaries. Her writing has also appeared in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, Courageous Creativity, the Seattle Times and other publications. She lives in Seattle.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Typing Class 1

In Haiti 5

Tonight, Tonight 31

The Tennis Club 45

A Hundred Christmases 59

Sisu 71

The Madrona House 79

The Troubles 89

Gero Psych 105

John the Divine 115

If, If, If 123

The Helsinki Yacht Club 135

Northern House 155

Epilogue: Light She Was 169

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“As a daughter who nursed her own mother through the ravages of Alzheimer’s, I was deeply moved by Ann Hedreen’s heartfelt tribute to her mother’s courage and suffering, and her searingly honest reflections on the confusion wrought by this disease.
—Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being

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