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Letters to Harry: A True Story of a Daughter's Love and a Mother's Final Journey Hardcover – June 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Time Life Education; First Edition edition (June 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0737000465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0737000467
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,242,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This collection of sad, tender and introspective letters written to the author's colleague and good friend spans eight months when her mother was dying from breast cancer. Graham, who lived in Oregon's Wallowa Mountains with her husband and three children while her parents lived some distance away, describes the inner conflict she felt in trying to balance her sense of responsibility to her children with her desire to attend to her parents. Graham relates how since childhood she endured her mother's fierce spells of anger, which Graham believes stemmed from the death of her own mother when she was only seven. As Graham's mother's health declined and her anger escalated, Graham coped by focusing on her mother's wonderful ability to love her unconditionally, despite passing clouds of anger. During the last months of her mother's life, Graham not only grew closer to her, but also took comfort in her father's reliability and the sense of humor that he retained even when he became ill with a blocked artery. The author came to believe that, despite her sorrow, her mother's illness and death was an opportunity for her to grow spiritually by accepting that suffering and loving sometimes go hand in hand. She involved her children in the dying process by taking them to visit their grandmother and talking through their feelings about death. Through Graham's sensitive and wise correspondence, we see a family that was pulled closer together rather than torn apart by the death of one of its members. Ad/promo.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Graham wrote this collection of letters over the course of several months, as she witnessed her mother slowly dying of breast cancer. Although the letters are written to Graham's friend and colleague Harry, he stays more or less anonymousAhis return correspondence is not included. Graham's narrative illustrates how contending with such an ordeal can magnify the age-old conflicts between mother and daughter. Nevertheless, through her family's shared experiences of anger and pain, stronger relationships develop. Graham's eloquent descriptions of the Oregon countryside lend solace and dignity to her family's day-to-day emotional and physical struggles. She maintains an idealistic and spiritually steadfast attitude throughout, which may leave those readers less sure of their faith somewhat dissatisfied. Recommended for family members dealing with terminal illness and libraries with collections of motivational or self-help materials.AAnnette Haines, Central Michigan Univ. Libs., Mount Pleasant
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Letters To Harry is a beautifully committed story of a woman's struggle to be true and good in the face of her mother's suffering and death from breast cancer. Janet Farrington Graham gives voice to our deepest fears and our greatest strengths. Her prose sings.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
There is an audience for a book like this. It just was not me.I am 25 years old and lost my mother to breast cancer two years ago.This book reaffirms my belief that everyone has a different story to tell about cancer and how it has touched their life. I was looking for some common ground and found little with the author. For me, the book was simply a series of metaphors comparing nature with life. Beyond that, the reader has to sift through the mind of the author, seemingly reading her thoughts as she writes them. I appreciate how personal this must have been for the author to do, but it was quite abstract.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph T Allesi on August 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My mom has lung cancer, so I could relate to this book very well. Anyone who knows someone with cancer should read this. What a well written, detailed, compassionate book. Up until this book I was unable to locate anything like it. As far as I am concerned, it rates a ten! The reading is smooth, honest and really deals with the emotions that arise when dealing with cancer, for all those involved. I have passed it onto my moms oncologist counselor in order to help others in similar situations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A should read for those with aging parents -- and more so for the parents
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