Motherhood: Lost and Found takes the reader on a journey where Alzheimer’s disease and infertility intersect. At age 33, award-winning author and poet Ann Campanella returns to her home state of North Carolina ready to build a horse farm and start a family. Ann’s foundation is shaken when she experiences multiple miscarriages at the same time her mother spirals into Alzheimer’s. The author’s devotion to her family and her horse Crimson sustain her as her mother’s illness progresses and her own window of potential motherhood begins to close. The voice in Ann’s memoir has been called constant and abiding, her imagery indelible. Her graceful, exacting language rises above the grief of infertility and the struggle to care for aging parents, connecting the reader ultimately to the heartbeat and resilience of the human experience. This memoir was a finalist in the Next Generation Independent Book Awards, the world’s largest not-for-profit independent book awards.
Praise for Motherhood: Lost and Found include:
“Ann Campanella’s Motherhood: Lost and Found is a chronicle of family tragedy and triumph told in some of the most truly lyrical writing you’ll ever encounter. She writes of grief and loss with heart wrenching honesty but without sentimentality then adds humor in such unexpected places I found myself laughing and crying all on the same page. This is the best memoir I’ve read in years....”- Judith Minthorn Stacy, author of Maggie Sweet, winner of the Carolina Novel Award
“The book is about ... the love of a family ... and how that love sustained them during a long and painful crisis, and how Ann’s relationship with her husband Joel was deepened and enriched by that crisis, and how three generations are better than two. Motherhood: Lost and Found has much to teach us all as human beings.”- Anthony (Tony) Abbott, Professor Emeritus at Davidson College, author of Leaving Maggie Hope, winner of the Novello Festival Press Book Award
“A sensitive, in-depth study of one woman’s slow descent into Alzheimer’s as detailed by her daughter, Motherhood: Lost and Found involves us in the dynamic of a multi-generational family as well as the author’s own story: horses, poetry, three terrible miscarriages, and in her 41st year, a final miracle.” - Maxine Kumin, Pulitzer Prize winning poet
“Ann Campanella’s Motherhood: Lost and Found records the ordinary and extraordinary courage of those who must endure debilitating, even crushing illness and those who must suffer with them while they do so. Here is bravery, patience, reconciliation, and -- at long last -- hope. I found this story valuable in an intensely personal way. I think others readers will find it so too.”- Fred Chappell, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina
“It is the gift of a lifetime. Nothing I have ever read has affected me more deeply or made me more thankful that I am alive. You have made your place ... into your place on earth. And you have welcomed us – all of us – into it…. Through your book, you have made it ours. The voice in the book is constant. Faithful, I should say…You have delved into the scarcest moments and found the Abiding. Something as fundamental as fire – and earth and water and air. As death and love, as death and love and death and love again.”- Mike Martin, writer and artist
“I was so deeply touched by this memoir. Anyone with children or aging parents will be moved by this searingly honest story. Ann struggled with infertility at the same time she was trying to care for her mother with Alzheimer's. In a clear-eyed way, she explores how her family navigated the suffering caused by her mother's illness, and her own heartbreak of multiple miscarriages. Every sentence is beautifully crafted, with a poet's attention to detail. The images are indelible, and in the end, the reader is completely uplifted by love and hope.” - Lisa Willliams Kline, award-winning author, Eleanor Hill, Winner of the North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award
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About the Author
Formerly a magazine and newspaper editor, Ann Campanella writes creative nonfiction and poetry. After a chain of personal hardships, including a series of miscarriages and her mother becoming ill with Alzheimer’s, she felt compelled to share her story. She is the author of several collections of poetry including the award-winning What Flies Away. Her work has been published in local and national journals and anthologies. She lives on a small horse farm in North Carolina with her family and animals. To learn more about the author, visit her website at www.anncampanella.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Although a memoir, and therefore non-fiction, Ms. Campanella’s book reads like a novel. This book needs to be read by everyone, not just those who have a close family member with dementia. This memoir is a story of life-obstacles and how one runs into, climbs over, or destroys those with which one is confronted. There are times in our lives when we sense no victories are forthcoming, and times when we can boast that we created our own victories because of the way in which we chose to not be affected by all that would try to beat us down. This book is also a story of how dementia creeps into a family’s life, bit by bit. As an outside reader looking in, you may say, “Doesn’t this family see what is going on? Her mother seems to exhibit textbook symptoms of cognitive decline, why don’t they recognize them?” Unless and until you too have a loved one with cognitive impairment, such a declaration cannot be allowed into one’s lexicon. When we love someone so dearly, oftentimes the hope we have for their well-being coats our vision in such a way that we rely on the best-case scenario, rather than the reality that points to the possibility of one of the worst imaginable diseases. As a former caregiver for my father, and as one who has been intimately involved with other Alzheimer’s caregivers, in order to survive the moment, we need to believe the best oftentimes just so we can get through the next day…or even the next hour. Added to the author’s “normal” is the fact that she and her husband desperately crave a child but when one would think the universe owed them a break, given all else that is going on in the family’s life, such a break is not easily bestowed, although much-deserved. You will find yourself in the bleachers, cheering on nature’s gift that is not necessarily a given in many couples’ lives. If you have yet to read Ms. Campanella’s memoir, please do yourself a favor and read it. Regardless of where you are in life – carefree or severely burdened – you will benefit greatly by what the author and her family experienced. You will also gain a greater understanding of how you might help those with whom you are acquainted who are similarly encumbered.