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The Habit by [Morse, Susan Wheeler]
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The Habit Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 114 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Susan’s epic effort to differentiate herself from the consuming power of this unique woman is every woman’s struggle, but writ large, crazy, and funny.” —Rosanne Cash, author of Composed 

“Susan Morse writes in a dream state, and The Habit is funny and moving and wise. After reading it, you'll see Susan’s mother in a whole new way, and your own mother, too.” —Michael Bamberger, author of The Swinger

“In her portrait of her hilarious and heroic struggle with an almost impossiblemother, Susan Morse has captured the mother-daughter paradox like no one else in recent memory.” —Rebecca Pepper Sinkler, former editor of the New York Times Book Review
 
“Morse’s caustic, changeable, demanding, smarty-pants mother is a late-life Sharon Sedaris, had Sharon Sedaris lived and become an Orthodox Christian nun in her eighties, and Morse herself is a crackerjack guide.” —Cynthia Kaplan, author of Why I’m Like This
 
“A page-turning, humorous account of one woman’s experience during her difficult mother’s turbulent journey into old age. . . . A lively testament to a complicated though loving mother-daughter relationship.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“A sometimes searing, often hilarious account of a mother-daughter relationship Hallmark probably doesn't have a card for.” —Ellen Gray, Philadelphia Daily News

Book Description

In this fresh, funny, utterly irresistible memoir, Susan Morse offers readers a look at a mother-daughter relationship that is both universal and unique. For anyone who’s wondered how they made it through their childhood with their sanity intact, for every multitasking woman coping simultaneously with parents and children, for those of us who love our parents come hell or high water (because we just can’t help it), Susan Morse’s story is surprising, reassuring, and laugh-out-loud funny.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4661 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (November 8, 2011)
  • Publication Date: November 8, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005TUN1T8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,124 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Danielle R. Reed on November 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a memoir of a woman trying to meet the needs (and wants) of her family: daughter in college, private-school twin sons, actor husband and the centerpiece, her 85 year-old mother, artist and recently converted orthodox Christian nun. When her mother becomes ill, Susan goes into overdrive, struggling with the doctor's office staff, the hospital, the surgeon, the nurses, and the home health aide. Frank, funny and charming, this is a true life story, uplifting to anyone with an HMO's phone number on their speed-dial.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Couldn't stop laughing when I read this book and by the end I was crying. My own mother is dead but if yours is still alive you should first read the book and then give it to her to read. Then, you should either buy the book and send it, as a present, to all your siblings or tell them to buy it for themselves. (The same advice applies for your adult children.) Why? Because Susan Morse writes with absolute honesty about how difficult her mother was and can still be. Her mother was an artist and a portrait painter before she became an Orthodox nun. Susan writes the way a great portrait painter paints: she gives us all the details around the person that truly matter and then puts the person right smack in the middle of that world for us to look at and to understand. Beyond that, she also lets us know that she, the writer, loves and admires her subject. Last, but not least, Morse allows us to see her, the writer-daughter, as someone who is as challenging, flawed, demanding, compassionate and persistent an artist as is her mother!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Habit, by Susan Morse is unusual, in
that its a combination of marvelous humor,and a certain sadness involved in the relationship between an eccentric,aging mother and her care-giving daughter, Susan. Its beautifully written,and very,very,very funny. A wonderful book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Susan Morse's mom is and has always been a handful. She's one of those "special snowflake" people--you're never sure what diet she's on, eschews antibiotics "I'm allergic to all of them" (not because she had a reaction but she "knows" and in her late 80's, decides to become an Orthodox Christian nun. No, she wasn't Orthodox Christian during most of her life--this is a late accomplishment. Susan, located closest of all her siblings to her mother, is in charge of her medical care.

The biography of this unusual family from Philadelphia is interesting; Susan's mother is a talented painter and Susan is an actress. But the silver lining of this book is the story of how Susan navigates the minefield of the health care system. Even with long term care insurance, finding proper care for her mother is a challenge and at one point, she sues a very uncaring HMO who frustrates her mother's rehabilitation with every turn, so much so that they are referred to, not as HMO but as the ESD (eat..s...and die, fill in the blanks.) Susan's battle with them is worth the price of admission alone.

This is an interesting book, amusing at times, frustrating at times, but will probably appeal to anyone with an aging parent or a non-conventional parent.
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Format: Paperback
Reading "The Habit" was like sitting at a cozy café with a good friend, drinking coffee, sharing our souls and lives and laughing our asses off. The book begins and ends within the span of one year, but Susan Morse's narrative on her life, and that of her mother's, covers 150+ years, which gives this very personal account its heart and soul. It was difficult to put "The Habit" down to eat, sleep and care for my family. Ms. Morse's writing style is reminiscent of David Sedaris and Nora Ephron, yet her voice is a unique and strong one.

I read "The Habit" nine months after my mother died. I did not have a good relationship with her so I was initially hesitant about reading Ms. Morse's chronicle of her relationship with her mother. My hesitation was unfounded and reading "The Habit" turned out to be surprisingly cathartic. The mother-daughter relationship envy that I anticipated never surfaced. In fact, instead of feeling sad and angry about what I didn't have with my own mother, I laughed and cried (good crying) and celebrated with Ms. Morse as she took me on irreverently poignant adventures through her life and her mother's life, which includes "Ma" becoming a nun at 85 years old!

"The Habit" can be appreciated by all, whether or not you're a parent, a daughter, a son, or a nun, if you enjoy an honest, well written and marvelously witty book then you'll enjoy "The Habit".
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THE HABIT

By Susan Morse

This book is a jigsaw puzzle. Ostensibly the story of the author's relationship with her mother, and especially the relationship between the grown woman with children who still need her and her elderly mother, no longer self-sufficient. The `sandwich generation' dilemma is omnipresent today, and likely to become more so.

`The Habit' is an engaging portrait of a mother who happens to be talented, difficult, eccentric-to the point that her journey culminated in becoming a nun at the age of eighty-five. And the book is more than a portrait of this woman and of her daughter. The ride that we go on addresses what it is to commit to anyone, and what a mysterious and complex journey it is.

Susan Morse observes her mother and others with great detail. She goes beyond what they have achieved and what their circumstances are; the characters, especially Ma, are very complex and do not escape incisive criticism. Susan's own spiritual pursuit can be described as a desire for a world in which people tell the truth. Susan conveys the fact that she understands only too well that the ability to be truthful must be learned. I gathered that Susan felt grateful for the twists of fate that have helped her. She can therefore comment on the failures of others with tenderness rather than contempt.

`The Habit' has spontaneity and weaves many themes together. It is clear that the structure has been scrutinized and that the pace is conscious, that the high points and the revisiting of some things and the positioning of others are deliberate. And it works really well. Much of the subject matter drags us into the heart of darkness that lurks in the frail human body but the book is at least as humorous as it is painful.
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