All Gone By: Alex Witchell
(Riverhead, 2012, 224 pages)
This is another Advanced Reader Copy I’m just getting around to. All Gone is a memoir about Witchell’s experiences accepting her mother’s advancing dementia. Witchell connects her memories with her mother to food she had growing up and she takes comfort in the stability that comes from revisiting classic recipes she associates with a time in her life when her mother was truly present. For that reason food (and recipes) play a significant role in the book.
All Gone revolves around what’s going on with her mother in the present day. Witchell is struggling to accept the changes going on with her mother and her memory – especially since it’s obvious that her mother understands something is wrong and can do nothing to fix it. This book looks at aging and changing family dynamics in a way that’s both accessible and heartbreaking. You appreciate the author’s attempts to connect with and remember her mother for the woman she was while reconciling herself to the fact that nothing can be done to stop her from traveling down the path she’s on.