How to Forget

A Daughter’s Memoir

by Kate Mulgrew

On Sale: 05/21/2019

How to Forget

A Daughter’s Memoir

by Kate Mulgrew

On Sale: 05/21/2019


About the Book

In this profoundly honest and examined memoir about returning to Iowa to care for her ailing parents, the star of Orange Is the New Black and bestselling author of Born with Teeth takes us on an unexpected journey of loss, betrayal, and the transcendent nature of a daughter’s love for her parents.

They say you can’t go home again. But when her father is diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer and her mother with atypical Alzheimer’s, New York-based actress Kate Mulgrew returns to her hometown in Iowa to spend time with her parents and care for them in the time they have left.

The months Kate spends with her parents in Dubuque—by turns turbulent, tragic, and joyful—lead her to reflect on each of their lives and how they shaped her own. Those ruminations are transformed when, in the wake of their deaths, Kate uncovers long-kept secrets that challenge her understanding of the unconventional Irish Catholic household in which she was raised.

Breathtaking and powerful, laced with the author’s irreverent wit, How to Forget is a considered portrait of a mother and a father, an emotionally powerful memoir that demonstrates how love fuses children and parents, and an honest examination of family, memory, and indelible loss.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“A darkly unsettling and unvarnished post-mortem of one fractured, complicated American family that will feel deeply, even painfully, familiar to some and shockingly, fascinatingly alien to others, but its emotional power is universally compelling. This is a masterfully crafted memoir, an elegant tour de force that firmly establishes Mulgrew as a writer of significant literary endowment. The soulmate to Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, How to Forget, despite the promise of its title, cannot be forgotten or ignored.” - Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors and Toil & Trouble

“This is a passionate book by a passionate writer. Overflowing with the true terrors of family life, with the fight for love and connection and understanding, with an amazing American story of hope and disappointment, sorrow and roots, this memoir will electrify readers and become a part of what we know about who we are.” - Anne Roiphe, journalist, novelist, and author of the memoir 1185 Park Avenue

“Kate Mulgrew is a brilliant actor, which does not conceal her brilliance with the pen. This memoir, How to Forget, plunges you into familiar, familial depths of death, disease, and despair, only to pull you up again with a bawdy laugh. Death, disease, and despair are not walls for Mulgrew, but they are steps towards the sunlight of serenity. Read and cry, read and laugh, read and remember How to Forget.” - Malachy McCourt, author of Death Need Not Be Fatal

“Mulgrew, an actress best known for Star Trek: Voyager and Orange Is the New Black, plays her best role: as herself. This is no Hollywood tell-all, but a moving personal story about her family, in particular her aging parents, whom she cared for as they faced terminal illnesses.” - Washington Post

“A rich, eloquent, and emotionally complex portrait of parent-child bonds and a colorful, unforgettable family. . . . [A] candid and moving memoir.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Candid and intimate. . . . A detailed and searing portrait of a family facing the inevitability of death.” - Publishers Weekly

“[An] engrossing story of a daughter’s love, told with brutal honesty.” - Booklist

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062846846
  • ISBN 10: 0062846841
  • Imprint: William Morrow
  • On Sale: 05/21/2019
  • Pages: 352
  • List Price:17.99 CAD
  • BISAC2 : FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Dysfunctional Families
  • BISAC3 : FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Death, Grief, Bereavement

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