Christmas Every Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren–Book Review

Christmas Every Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren (2008-05-03)

If you are looking for an easy, escapist beach read this may be the book for you. Otherwise, pick something else.

++SPOILER ALERT++The plot is completely predictable. Ever since she can remember, Krista Mueller felt unloved by her mother (her father was not in the picture at all). For years, her mother has been cared for in a facility for Alzheimer patients, and Krista has not visited with her. Now, notified that her mother is dying, Krista returns to her home town of Taos, New Mexico, to make peace. She also reunites with her teenage flame, Dane, who is (surprise!) the director of the Alzheimer facility. Old wounds are quickly exposed and healed, the lovers find one another again and the relationship between mother and daughter is restored.

The characters are not well developed and the Christianity portrayed is superficial. Conflicts are resolved too quickly to create much tension. I read it in one day.

The most edifying part of the book was the description of the Alzheimer facility. Here the author had done her research and suggested some interesting alternative therapies, such as the “Christmas room” where residents could hear carols and see Christmas decorations every day and garden paths that led back to the rooms to satisfy their desire to roam without the risk of getting lost.

VERDICT: 2 STARS. Even if you’re looking for an easy read, there are better choices.

For other Christian novels see:

Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron–Book Review

white picket fences by Susan Meissner–Book Review

Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane–Book Review

Coffee With Mom by Mike Glenn — Book Review

Anyone who has been a caregiver to a parent with Alzheimer’s or dementia will find things to relate to in Mike Glenn’s musings about his mom. I did. (see my posts Wash One Another’s Feet?? and Washing Feet (continued)).  As the “decider” of the family Mike’s mom did not gracefully accept her son’s new role as her guardian.  She was often angry and she let him know it! She didn’t want to give up her car keys;  she didn’t want to move from the home she had lived in for years;  she didn’t want to leave her church for the one Mike was pastoring.  However, her continuing descent into dementia made these things necessary.

Mike came to see that:

“Her happiness was no longer the goal;  her health and well-being were.”

To others facing a similar situation he says:

“The only thing that matters is if you can live with yourself and the decisions you make…. No one has figured out Alzheimer’s.  Don’t be angry at yourself because you didn’t figure it out sooner, faster or better.  You did the best you could, and sometimes, that’s all you can do.”

Coffee with Mom: Caring for a Parent with Dementia

Mike maintains his relationship with his mother by stopping by for coffee with her every morning and is able, at times to relive family memories.  He realizes that her time at the piano is her way to pray, and he finds humor in some of her comments to him, many of which he “tweets.”  For example:

  • “My friends tell me you’ve been talking about me.  How do you get on that internet thing so I can talk about you?”
  • “Your sermon was short (I went about 22 minutes).  After all week, I thought you would’ve come up with a little more.”
  • Well, if you’re to going to buy me a car, get me a chauffer like that lady in the movie.”

Nobody’s journey with dementia is the same, but reading about the experiences of Mike and his mom can help us feel less alone.  This was a moving story, but frankly repetitive.  It would have made a better essay or article than a book.

Would you like to order this book? Follow the link below to learn more:

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/coffee-with-mom-P005813403

 

VERDICT:  4 stars

 

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255