In this profoundly honest and examined memoir, the star of Orange Is the New Black and author of Born with Teeth takes us on an unexpected journey of life and loss, secrets and betrayal, and the transcendent nature of a daughter’s love for her parents
They say you can’t go home again.
But when her father is diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer and her mother with atypical Alzheimer’s, New York–based actress Kate Mulgrew returns to Dubuque, Iowa, to care for her parents in the time they have left together.
In the months she spends with them—by turns turbulent, tragic, and joyful—Kate, the second of eight children and the firstborn daughter, reflects on both of their lives and how they shaped her own. With psychological precision and poetic grace, she illuminates the dreams, hopes, flaws, and tragedies that marked these two unforgettable figures: her father, Tom, a witty, charming, seductive, hard-drinking son of the Midwest, and Joan, her artist mother, the cultured, educated Eastern wit and vibrant center of the Mulgrew clan.
As Kate pores over shards of the past, her ruminations are transformed when, in the wake of her parents’ deaths, she uncovers long-kept secrets that challenge her understanding of the unconventional Irish Catholic household in which she was raised.
Intimate and evocative, laced with the author’s irreverent humor, How to Forget is a story of the hopes, ambitions, joys, laughter, regrets, and disappointments that make a family. Breathtaking and powerful, it is a considered portrait of a mother and a father, an emotionally resonant memoir that demonstrates how love fuses children and parents, and an honest examination of kinship, memory, and indelible loss.