After surviving a traumatic childhood in the shadow of her flamboyant mother, Rita, a makeup-addicted former television singer, Elissa Altman has managed to build a very different life, settling in Connecticut with her wife of nearly twenty years. After much time, therapy, and wine, Elissa is at last in a healthy place, still orbiting around her mother but keeping far enough away to preserve the stable, independent world she has built for herself. Then the unthinkable happens: Rita suffers an incapacitating fall, leaving her completely dependent upon her daughter.
In Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing, and Longing, Altman, a writer and editor, is forced to finally confront the profound differences between herself and her mother. From Rita’s yearning for beauty and glamour and the money that has mysteriously disappeared in the name of preserving youth, to the practical challenges of caregiving for someone who refuses to accept it, Ms. Altman must navigate the turbulent waters of their shared lives.
Ms. Altman will speak about her book at the third program of the Spring Author Talks at the Kingston Council on Aging on Thursday, April 30 at 7 p.m.