My Mother, My Son by Dwayne J. Clark – Book 54

My Mother, My Son by Dwayne J. Clark had so much of what I thought was missing in The End of Your Life Book Club.  There were no distractions of multiple listings of novels, no chances of novel spoilers being released, and there was an obvious close personal connection between mother and son.

My Mother, My Son is the true story of a mother’s diagnosis and advancement into Alzheimer’s, with the direct correlation to how her children’s lives were affected.  Her son, Dwayne J. Clark (also the author), owns the successful Aegis Living communities for the elderly, and while it was never expected, eventually, Mom would end up calling Aegis her home.

There were three interwoven story lines, which I originally was worried would be confusing.  But it was not.  The story lines followed Mom from a child as she grew up, Mom older and with Dwayne as a child and growing up, and then Dwayne dealing with Mom as she progressed through her illness.

The memoir showcased Mom being her feisty self, along with her somewhat obsessive fears about being left behind by her children.  She was terrified of being alone and was very dependent on her family for support.  It seemed a little unhealthy at times, but you could tell the family was very close.

One moving story was about how Dwayne worked for months, saving up to buy his mother two expensive suits from the trendy store in town.  The women in the store laughed at him at first, until he pulled out the money he worked hard to earn by cleaning up at a local restaurant.  When Mom received the suits, she was pleased beyond belief, and wore them for years.  This scene brought tears to my eyes, it was so moving.

While Mom was progressing further and further into Alzheimer’s, Clark made a significant effort to showcase his mother honestly, even when it hurt.  And throughout the novel, we are able to see Mom as the person she was before her illness, through those interwoven timelines.

Clark ends the book with tips for those who experience Alzheimer’s in loved ones, both on dealing with the person themselves and taking the time to deal with your own feelings and needs.

I love how all of the profits from My Mother, My Son are going to be donated to Clark’s foundation, the Potato Soup Foundation (named after a story told in the novel) as well as the Alzheimer’s Association.

Fun fact: The author and I (as well as a few other of his relatives) have the same birthday (month and day).

If you enjoyed The End of Your Life Book Club, this memoir is one that will touch your heart.  I enjoyed the close relationships among family members more than in The End of Your Life, so you might as well!

Would you like to read this book?  Let me know if you are interested in the comments section, along with your email or twitter handle (if I don’t already know it), and I’ll randomly draw a name on Sunday, Dec 23, and get it in the mail as soon as possible!

If you don’t want a copy of the book, but still want to comment, go ahead!



22 thoughts on “My Mother, My Son by Dwayne J. Clark – Book 54

  1. Ahh, now this sounds like something I would really like. I wanted to like End of Your Life so much more than I did but this one sounds like it has the emotional connection that was missing from End of Your Life.

    Have you read Still Alice? If not you really should, I have the feeling that you’d love it!


    • It was sad at points, because it’s always hard to imagine a parent sometimes forgetting where she is, who she is, who you are. . . but the stories that the author added about his mother as a little girl and an adult really help you get a feel for her as a person, not just the disease she suffered from.


  2. Oh, a very interesting story because it’s real. Alzheimer’s scares me a little.
    I read a book time ago about Alzheimer: it has been written by a doctor who works in a home for the elderly (I don’t know exactly the word: the hospital for old and ill people, where they live their last years until they die) and most of them have Alzheimer’s. He talks about how the families deal with it, which is quite sad but interesting.
    The book was actually written to talk about a cat that was a pet there and the cat was with the people in their last hours, acompanying them. I also cried a little.
    Is “Making the rounds with Oscar”, by David Dosa.

    I feel I always talk about another book in your reviews, don’t I? 🙂

    And if the giveaway is international, I would like to join in, of course. If possible.


    • Isi,

      It’s always fine to mention other books! I usually end up recommending another book too, and to be honest, your book reminded me of one to recommend to you now! 🙂 A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey were really good fictional books about getting inside a dog’s mind, and the dog in the book helps to save people’s lives in many ways. Although, if you don’t like dogs, then it might not be for you! I’ll check out the Making the Rounds” book!

      And sure, why not? I’ll make it international! 🙂


  3. This sounds like something I would really like to read. End of Your Life Book Club was pretty high on my TBR list, but after reading many not so raving reviews it’s been bumped down a couple of notches. Many of the reviews I read agreed with Jennifer (the Relentless Reader) in that it missed the emotional connection.


    • Jennifer (Relentless Reader) and I talked about it during a book discussion with Jen at Devourer of Books, and we both felt the same way. Although Heather at Between the Covers really felt a connection with End of Your Life because it reminded her closely of a personal situation.

      I just felt like what I missed during End of Your Life, this book had. I got to know the mother more personally, and while she had her quirks and was saucy, she was made human and I really felt for her and for her family.


  4. Hi Rebecca. Nice review, but most of the time I steer away from novels with mothers and family dramas. I can’t stand it. Let me correct myself – I can finish reading it, but with a wounded heart. I have read My Mother’s Daughter and My Sister’s Keeper – both the most dramatic family novel I have read. I had recurring nightmares because of that. Even Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song and Dear John made me cry like an idiot. 😦


    • Oh, I cry at everything! Happy, sad, whatever. I’ll cry.

      I didn’t cry in My Mother, My Son, except when Dwayne saved up and bought his mom the suits, because that was really moving.

      This isn’t really “family drama” in the same sense, and it’s a true story. I felt it was more like Dwayne discussing how Alzheimer’s has affected his family and his mother, with stories about his mother from birth to elderly to remind you that she’s still a human being. It wasn’t a sad novel where you might cry, more one where you feel for the family.


      • Hmm then I guess we have another thing in common! Hmm. I trust your judgment and I’ll probably give the book a try if my hands aren’t full at the moment.

        I got a copy of Xingu, but it isn;t 48 pages long 😦 GR seems wrong sometimes haha


  5. Oh yes, I’ve read reviews about those books about the dog (I like dogs, I’m a vet!). I have to read them.
    About what 최다해 gongjumonica says, I also cried the whole evening after finishing The notebook and A walk to remember. Ohhhh they are too sad!


    • Monica also mentioned “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult. It was sooooo good but get ready to cry your eyes out!

      Ok, and if you read the 2 dog books, especially as a vet and a crier, you’ll need tons of tissues! I cried a lot through those books, but they were good!


  6. Wow great post Rebecca 🙂 Last week I went into Exclusive Books bookstore and I actually picked up this book. Great storyline because people can actually relate to it as Alzheimer’s is very real and it is always nice to be able to “connect” to the author especially when experiencing a similar problem/issue. Another book I should add to my “To Read List” as well as my collection 🙂


  7. I just found the latest book to add to my to-read list, and I would love to be added to your list for a random drawing for it. I am especially interested in this book because both of my parents had/have dementia. My Dad is gone now, but thankfully his dementia was never so bad that he totally forgot us. My Mother is still alive but unfortunately knows none of us anymore. So, I feel like I already have a personal connection to this book. I know it will make me cry because I am already teary eyed just writing this comment.


    • My grandfather had dementia before he passed away, and it was interesting that the book discussed how long term memory actually gets better at a point (which I noticed with my grandfather) and then depreciates. Who knows? Maybe I’ll draw your name! You’d enjoy the book, even if it causes tears, because it will probably be nice to hear what others have gone through as well.


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