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When I Married My Mother: A Daughter's Search for What Really Matters - and How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo [Kindle Edition]

Jo Maeder
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (640 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
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Book Description

"This book is important to every mother and daughter, and to every woman who wants to be one." MAYA ANGELOU

WHEN I MARRIED MY MOTHER, a national bestseller, is an unusual, unexpected love story. Jo Maeder was a high-energy, irreverent Z100 radio "ZJ" in New York City when a series of crises led her to do the unthinkable: leave New York for the Bible Belt- "Greensboring," North Carolina-to care for her estranged, eccentric "Mama Jo." What she thought would be some of the worst years of her life turned out to be some of the best. The same was true for her mother. Jo also discovered there's nothing boring about Greensboro. Though often rocky, this "marriage" was a triumphant success, leading Jo to repair a long-fractured family, smooth her rough edges, and find a new and vibrant life she never imagined.

Every eldercare situation is different but the emotions and decisions that need to be made are similar. This you'll-laugh-you'll-cry story has helped others navigate their own present or future "long goodbye" with an elderly loved one as well as the complex family issues that arise. Even those who have already lost a loved one have felt a cathartic release and clarity.

“This generous gift of a book explores the mystery of how doing the right thing can, in the end, become infinitely more.” Tommy Hays

This is an enhanced eBook of the original Da Capo Press hardcover edition. Bonus material includes author Q&A, Mama Jo's Favorite Cookie award-winning recipe, caregiving tips, discussion questions, and links to the book trailer and the short film "The Doll Dilemma" by Jacob Rosdail.

Editorial Reviews


"This book is important to every mother and daughter, and to every woman who wants to be one." MAYA ANGELOU

"A hilarious, irreverent, and always touching account of how Maeder went from dreading caring for 'Mama Jo' to cherishing every minute with her. This generous gift of a book explores the mystery of how doing the right thing can, in the end, become infinitely more." TOMMY HAYS

"Hilarious, heartbreaking, and real. It captures the twists and turns of parenting one's parents and shows the new relationships that can develop as a result." NANCY GILES

"A wise, funny, and honest memoir. It doesn't simplify the complicated relationship between a daughter and her mother. It celebrates it. I couldn't put it down." NELL SCOVELL

"Jo Maeder's tender-hearted, funny memoir is a gift. She expertly writes about the downs and ups of life with an aging parent -- and Mama Jo is like no one you've met. This inspiring, warm, and wonderfully told love story is for absolutely everyone." JULIE KLAM

"Joining the league of classic mother-daughter memoirs, Jo Maeder's book depicts this ancient tug of war with wit, candor, and charm. When her aging mother finally can no longer hold up her end of the rope, two stubborn spirits come together in an almost shocking burst of love." SARAH KERNOCHAN

"Hilarious, poignant, and utterly relevant to all of us facing adulthood with aging parents. Jo Maeder perfectly nails the unique combination of love and frustration that so many of us have felt. And her mother!! Mama Jo is a character I won't soon forget. I adored this book." HOPE EDELMAN

From the Author

"My intention in writing this book was to address what helpful books like THE 36-HOUR DAY cover but told in a gripping narrative style. It warms my heart to see reader reviews echo this. However, you don't need to have a loved one in decline to enjoy it. My editor called it 'a misfit memoir and a great family saga.' I heartily agree."

Product Details

  • File Size: 3506 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Vivant Press (April 15, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,895 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved This Book! June 17, 2009
By Noraza
Sometimes books can really change your life. When I Married My Mother by Jo Maeder is one of those books. First, the title got me by asking, "What does that mean?" and then once I realized what it was about, I knew I had to read it.

What got me hooked was that Jo had a tenuous relationship with her mother. I have had one with my step-mother, too. She was the only mother I knew since my mother died during my birth. I could go on for hours how my step-mother was "not what I wanted in a mother," but I won't. What I did ask myself is: if Jo can heal a relationship with her mother, why can't I?

While I was reading the book, I brought it on a visit with my step-mother. She asked what I was reading and I told her. As I remembered Jo's magic with her mother, something shifted in me, and I realized my old way of thinking needed to leave so my step-mom and I could created magic, too. It worked! It was a huge leap into trying to heal a deep wound. It became a magical weekend from then on. And as I left, she said to me as she hugged me tightly, "I can't ever remember having such a good weekend with you as I did this time! You know I am going to miss you." I almost fell over! I had never heard those worlds before.

When I Married My Mother is written with insight, humor, and honesty. I think everyone who has a "mommy" issue could grow from Jo's wisdom. As she says, "If you're not right with your mama, you probably won't be right with anyone." I have thought about that one sentence for awhile now. It has brought me to action to change my ways; as really I am the only one who can change any situation I have problems with.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Everyone to Read! July 3, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found I wasn't alone. After caring for my mother a very long time ago, and then my step-father more recently, I didn't think I wanted to read this book. To be honest, I bought it and let it sit for quite a while. I wasn't ready, or so I thought...

Jo Maeder's story and my own seemed one and the same. Her mother's reactions, and actions, mirrored my step-father's.
Yes, I cried hard at times, and then I laughed so hard I peed myself!

It doesn't matter if you have cared for a loved one or not. This journey is beautiful. It is the perfect sunrise. Astonishing us with the depth of our emotional response to the every day natural wonder.

This book is full of love from the time you open the book, well past the final page.

I consider this book a priceless gift. I was not alone..
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When is the movie coming out? February 26, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This would make a fantastic movie! Mama Jo needs to be seen on the big screen. She belongs to millions of readers. As a daughter of an aging mother, this book made my future more bearable. Thank you for sharing this experience. Now, when is the movie coming out?
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poignant but a bit incredible June 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This story of a woman who leaves a crumbling career to take care of her failing mother has intrinsic interest and appeal. Mama Jo and her daughter reconnect after years of misunderstandings and partial estrangement with moving and amusing results. I think the author sugarcoats the enormous difficulties involved in eldercare, though.
Much is made of the rewards of giving a loved one, and those rewards certainly exist. But the anxiety, the personal cost to the caregiver, and especially the inevitable impatience and anger are either overly minimized or completely ignored. As a caregiver, I found the book a little unrealistic.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't wait for the movie February 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a cozy, inclusive of us all, memoir. It feels as though Jo is telling us this story over dinner. The evolution of her relationship with Mama Jo is remarkable. That this reads like a novel that you can't put
down, is a testament to Jo's ability to craft a real page-turner of this snapshot in time. The characters, alone, are alive with personality. Although you know the ending from start, I kept wishing it wouldn't happen; I miss these people already.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this well written funny book January 7, 2013
By Barbesc
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Loved this book. I couldn't put it down. It is very well written with lots of humor. Everyone who is having to take care of a parent or has taken care of parent will really enjoy Jo and her mother's journey of finding each other and all their crazy adventures.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming & Tender April 6, 2009
A story that will touch your heart. The author, Jo, realizes the depth of the love between mother and daughter when she is "forced" into being her elderly mother's care-giver. As Jo's story illustrates, doing the right thing does not always mean doing the easy thing. She follows her heart and, in the end, liberates her soul. You'll want to buy an extra copy for your mother, a sister, or a close friend.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some will like it - not my taste April 24, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the story of an accomplished and successful daughter leaving her big city life behind to care for her mother, who has apparently lost her ability to manage her life. The mother is described as a hoarder and apparently has Alzheimer's or some form of dementia. She seems to have developed an irrational distrust of her son, so the daughter has no choice but to take on the responsibility of caring for mom and dealing with her hoard of dolls and memorabilia. The premise sounded interesting and I looked forward to hearing the story. But what I didn't like was the disconnect between the mother as she was described in the beginning of the book, and the mother that was described after the move-in to the new home with her daughter. The first was an irrational, demanding tyrant, and the second was a sweetheart full of humor, interesting stories and love. There isn't really a transformation as such - Mom just suddenly becomes this other person. It was disappointing to me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars my momma
I Loved this book it's close to where I am with my momma!! I love her so much!! God Bless
Published 1 hour ago by Joyce
5.0 out of 5 stars A good life lesson
Caring for an aging loved one can be very taxing. This book does a nice job of shedding some light on how the situation can really be a blessing in disguise. Read more
Published 10 hours ago by S. Hora
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling story of caring for an elderly mom
I read this for the memoir category of the Popsugar 2015 challenge. In a nutshell, it's about a woman who leaves her long-time home and glamorous job as a DJ in New York to move to... Read more
Published 1 day ago by B. Brittain
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on aging parents
I Loved this book. It was very hard for me to put down. It's very bittersweet for me as I am dealing with my own mother who has dementia and is losing her grip on reality quickly.
Published 1 day ago by Mary K. ONeill
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well written, heartfelt and humorous. Two life journeyschronicled in a highly readable way
Published 1 day ago by superman
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly beautiful book
I wasn't sure I'd like this when I started and then couldn't put it down until I finished all of it. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Donna M Crane
5.0 out of 5 stars When I married my mother
My only regret was my mother had already passed before I read this book, there would of been a lot of things I would have done differently. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Barb Keener
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good story, told well. What more could I ask? Thoroughly enjoyable and encouraging!
Published 5 days ago by Texas Grandma
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to read!
This book provided great information about the ever changing relationship between an adult child and aging parent. I would highly recommend i
Published 6 days ago by Ali G
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story....memoir.....
Professionally edited and readable. You can read this story in a couple of hours, but the universal subject of caring for an aging parent, while moving to a geographical opposing... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Diana Lynn
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More About the Author

Scribe, foodie and temporary directress of a doll adoption service, you can often find me friending, pinning and tweeting to keep from doing real work. If you're not a social media type, connect through my website:

In a past life I was a wig-wearing, mini-skirted radio DJ in Miami and New York City,once known as "The Rock and Roll Madame" when my show followed Howard Stern's. (Okay, I confess. I still wear wigs on occasion.)My last on-air gig was for Z100, an amazing station. I left to move to the South to care for my estranged mother and my life changed in ways I never imagined. Read WHEN I MARRIED MY MOTHER to find out about that. OPPOSITES ATTACK: A Novel Inspired By True Events is a fun romp with some dark tones set in the South of France. Warning: You may want to jump on a plane and head to Provence the moment you finish it. Do keep in touch.

If you're a doll lover, or know someone who is, check out MAMA JO'S HOUSE OF DOLLS on I'm finding forever homes for my mom's 700+ dolls. They're now spread out across the globe from Russia to New Zealand, Chile to Japan. Link: It's a fraction of the collection. There's also a Facebook page for Mama Jo's House of Dolls that's highly entertaining. The New York Times ran an essay I wrote about this bittersweet adventure called "The 700-Doll Question," and YouTube has a short film on it titled "The Doll Dilemma." You decide if I'm crazy or not.

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