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Wait Until Tomorrow: A Daughter's Memoir Paperback – April 26, 2011

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About the Author

Author: Pat MacEnulty
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Author Bio: Pat MacEnulty is the author of four novels and a collection of short stories. She is also a teacher, workshop leader, writing coach, and freelance editor. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558617019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558617018
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,561,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pat MacEnulty has written novels, short stories, essays, memoirs, plays, screenplays and teleplays. She currently divides her time between Tallahassee, Florida and Los Angeles, California.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A southern reader on June 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've read most of MacEnulty's books and this one is her finest. She tackles the difficult subject of caretaking for an elderly parent with an honest eye and a caring heart without slipping into melodrama and sentimentality. Her prose is at once poetic and sparse with moments of genious. I am reminded of "Eat, Pray, Love" and think that perhaps this book is what Gilbert's book was not. It's real. Unlike Gilbert, MacEnulty can't go off to Italy and eat pasta to escape her reality, she has to stay home and deal with it. While MacEnulty deals with the failing health of her mother, the needs of her daughter, and the loss of her marriage, she maintains her humor and recaptures the relationship with her mother that she once had as a young girl. This book will make you laugh, cry, and cheer for MacEnulty and her mother, Roz.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Burton on April 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading "Wait Until Tomorrow," the adage, "As you sow, so shall you reap," seems a most descriptive term for the journey Pat MacEnulty travels with her mother down the harrowing road of caretaking. MacEnulty's mother kept her focus on the person her daughter was inside as MacEnulty sped toward her own destruction. Her mother-love and her vision of her daughter resulted in MacEnulty's turnaround. Now, the daughter expresses her love and anguish in her memoir centering on her mother's aging process. MacEnulty eloquently walks the tightrope between caring for her mother while juggling her own family and her teaching duties as an assistant professor. As MacEnulty adjusts to her changing mother, she is called to do the same in her family. MacEnulty self-honesty makes this a must-read for anyone who has, is or will be caring for an aged parent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Meg Drislane on August 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
It's a story you hear with increasing frequency as you get older, about the exchange of roles as the parent becomes the child and the child the caregiver, but only in the particulars of each person's life is its heartbreak revealed. In Wait Until Tomorrow, Pat MacEnulty's beautiful memoir of her mother, Roz, we don't just meet the dependent, at times unfamiliar woman Roz has become, we get to know her as she used to be. A talented composer and pianist who won a music scholarship to Yale, Roz had always loved to perform--on whatever form a stage might take. Beautiful and vivacious, she had no problem--indeed, often insisted on--being the center of attention, and could be counted on to liven up any gathering. ("You want to hear 'Happy Birthday'?" MacEnulty writes. "She can play it in at least five different versions, from boogie woogie to horror movie.") Roz loved her music, she loved to play Scrabble, she loved the three children she'd mostly raised on her own. Life was good in all the ways that mattered, until one fundamental thing changed. In MacEnulty's words: "And then she got old." As Roz's body and mind both begin to fail her, her daughter takes over managing all the details involved in her care while struggling to hold her own life together in her roles as a wife, mother, and professor, and she recounts those days and years in a sharp, present-tense narrative that emphasizes the immediacy of life being lived even while its subject begins slipping away. There is no glossing over the heartbreak of watching a parent's slow descent into dementia, and MacEnulty spares us none of the details: the alarm on the bed, the repeated trips to the hospital, the confusion in her mother's eyes, the times when you think it would be impossible for things to get any worse, and then, of course, they do.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CarlV on August 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
The main idea behind Wait Until Tomorrow is the author's memoir of her years caring for her aging mother; and it is a fine memoir, detailing the trials and triumphs of loving, caring for, and watching the decline of a much-loved parent. It will provide comfort and encouragement for anyone who has or will live through a similar experience. But there is a lot of joy and even humor in this book, because the author has chosen to illuminate the story of herself as her mother's caregiver by reflecting on numerous other stories that shed light on her memories: the author as child of an inspiring musician, as mother of a striking daughter; other parents and children; other powerful women in the family; other relationships and their moments of excitement, yearning, terror, and sheer joy. The result is a fast-reading narrative that dips deep into experience, emotion, and the feeling of what it means to be alive at any age.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This memoir is much more than the author's story of taking care of her aging mother while trying to find time for her teenage daughter and her husband and her job--though that tale is artfully rendered. But beyond the sandwich generation story, MacEnulty paints a vivid portrait of the talented,creative musician her mother was before age diminished her abilities. The author shares the pain of a woman watching her world shrink from center stage with applauding audiences to a tiny cell of hospital rooms and assisted living facilities. Yet even within the confines of that reduced world, Rosalind MacEnulty sometimes manages to burst through with the force of her personality and talent to organize sing-alongs and entertain residents and staff with her piano playing.

One thing I admired about the story is Pat's brutal honesty about caregiving and aging. There's no sugarcoating of the bad days when Pat is exhausted and cranky from constant demands on her. By describing the days when she admits she is evil and mean, she gives readers permission to forgive themselves when they fall short of perfection as caaregivers.

Nor does Pat hide the degradation of age. She lays out the humilations in detail: the inability to go to the bathroom by oneself or control your bladder, the mental lapses, the need for a walker.

Despite the difficulties of her journey, Pat offers two amazing gifts born of love and gratitude to her mother. The first is having her mother's requiem performed one last time, and the second is memorializing her in this beautifully crafted book. The mother's talent as a musician is mirrored by her daughter's talent as a writer. The words, the sentences, the syntax all form a music of their own, Pat MacEnulty's requiem for her mother.
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