Anne-Marie OomenMay 23, 2023
As Long As I Know You
The Mom Book
University of Georgia Press 2022
In As Long As I Know You: The Mom Book (U Georgia Press, 2022), Ann-Marie Oomen offers a real-time narrative of walking her mother through dementia to the end of her life. Writer Pam Houston once summed it up: "Nice mother-daughter stories are a dime a dozen; pain-in-the-ass mother-daughter stories are the ones that grab us." We start this rending journey witnessing the small-not-small clashes between a mother and daughter who don't much like each other, and end in a tender, hopeful place that remains bright, real and raw. As the millions of women like Oomen's mother reach their elder years and become the "oldest of the old," their daughters (and sons) must grapple with what dignified care looks like in a healthcare system fraught with bureaucracy and that is somehow both bloated and threadbare simultaneously. Even readers who haven't cared for an aging parent will find themselves in the pages of As Long As I Know You, for questions of how we know what and who we know, which are intimately tangled with questions of how we love, are universal.
Anne-Marie Oomen’s book As Long as I Know You: The Mom Book won AWP’s Sue William Silverman Nonfiction Award (. Forthcoming, The Long Fields, from Cornerstone. Other titles include The Lake Michigan Mermaid (with poet, Linda Nemec Foster, Michigan Notable Book 2019), Love, Sex and 4-H, (Next Generation Indie Award for memoir); Pulling Down the Barn and House of Fields, (Michigan Notable Books)—all focused on rural culture; also An American Map: Essays, and a collection of poetry, Uncoded Woman (Milkweed Editions). She edited Elemental, A Collection of Michigan Nonfiction (Michigan Notable Book), and Looking Over My Shoulder: Reflections on the Twentieth Century (A Michigan Humanities Council Project). She has written seven plays, including award-winning Northern Belles (inspired by oral histories of women farmers), and Secrets of Luuce Talk Tavern, winner of the CTAM contest. She is founding editor of Dunes Review, former president of Michigan Writers, and serves as instructor at Solstice MFA in Creative Writing at Lasell University (MA) and at Interlochen College of Creative Arts. She appears at conferences throughout the country. She and her husband, David Early, built their own home on wild acreage near Empire, Michigan, and their beloved Lake Michigan. You can learn more at www.anne-marieoomen.com
You can learn more about the interviewer Megan Wildhood at meganwildhood.com.