We don’t come here to complain about men, but can I complain about my mother?
Katie’s raw and rich memoir came to life at our latest Parlay gathering. Anne’s home provided the perfect, intimate setting for our reading and Q&A session with the author, who shared not only the motivation that inspired her to write the book, but also the emotional aftermath.
More information about the book is below.
About the Book
In the summer of 2009, in the wake of a crisis in her life, Katie Hafner’s elderly mother moved from San Diego to San Francisco to live with Hafner and her teenage daughter.
Hafner’s mother had been a severe alcoholic, and Hafner and her sister were taken away from her when they were 10 and 12. Her mother did not raise her, but they stayed in touch. Holding fast to a fairytale view of their relationship that made her certain everything would work out, Hafner referred to her upcoming adventure as their “Year in Provence.” What she found instead was that she was sandwiched squarely between her obligation to an aging parent – a woman she barely knew – and her responsibility for her own daughter.
The Year in Provence rapidly turned into six months in Hell. Having a parent live with you under the best of circumstances can be a terrible stressor. In this case, not only was she caught between the constant needs of both her mother and her teenager, but she was roiled by anger and resentment toward her mother, emotions that she had carried with her, unaware, for decades. The book’s central question: What is our obligation to our parents as they age, particularly if they were far from perfect parents when we were young?
About the Author
Katie Hafner was on staff at The New York Times for ten years, where she remains a frequent contributor, writing on healthcare and technology. She has also worked at Newsweek and BusinessWeek, and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Wired, The New Republic, The Huffington Post, and O, The Oprah Magazine. She is the author of five previous works of nonfiction covering topics such as the origins of the Internet, computer hackers, German reunification, and the pianist Glenn Gould.