About My Mother: A Novel

about my mother

I picked up About My Mother, by Tahar ben Jelloun because it was from Morocco, and I’m trying to read a book from every country. But even though it was kind of a grab-bag, I thought ben Jelloun was a great writer.

The story is a (fictional) account of the author’s mother Fatma, as she grows older and deals with Alzheimer’s. The story jumps back and forth between his perspective and hers, and ben Jelloun does an interesting thing with the style. As the book progresses, the writing gets more and more disjointed as Fatma’s memory gets worse and worse.

This story is heartbreaking and sweet, and even a little depressing. Don’t read it as a pick-me-up—but it is beautiful. My only real complaint is that there’s a few sexual references thrown in there almost randomly; not sure if he was trying to be edgy, or if there was some symbolism I missed there. Overall, though, the book is a wonderful look at the culture of women in Morocco and the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease—both for the sufferer and the family. ♥

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