This work is a personal and public meditation on what we hold onto, what we let go of, how we remember others and how we’re remembered. We are at a historical moment in which so many people are navigating the difficult world of care giving for aging and ill parents and yet simultaneously having to reconcile old family dynamics. Here, I reflect on my adoring and abusive father which gives way to emerging and interlocking themes that also become central: domestic violence, marriage, divorce, only children, aging, illness, death, food, shifting dimensions of social class, and gender and race in care giving.
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I put together a set of questions to help start discussions for book clubs and other groups about the book. View the discussion guide.
Media Coverage for Welcome to Wherever We Are
Below is a short list of the media coverage for the book Welcome to Wherever We Are
Advance Praise for Welcome to Wherever We Are
Below is a short list of reviews for the book Welcome to Wherever We Are
With scrupulous honesty, and what Deborah so beautifully calls “tender curiosity,” this is a journey toward reconciliation with the ambivalence she felt towards an emotionally abusive father. She winds up with love. Her memoir is an inspiration.
author of What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir and A Three Dog Life
Cohan’s beautifully-nuanced book is an important addition to a distinctly American strain of memoir that seeks to fully explore family dynamics with all of its complications, glories, travails, and facing of mortality. This is a slice of life that is both wide and deep.
Sue William Silverman
author of Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You
Welcome to Wherever We Are is a memoir of a difficult family, a relationship between a father and a daughter. It involves abuse, dislike, love and a great deal of caring. It is a memoir, but one guided by the sociological lens of writer Deborah Cohan. She offers us a personal story set in the context of complicated family relationships in contemporary American society.
Barbara J. Risman
co-editor of Families as They Really Are
Love the sinner, hate the sin: thus, unfurls Cohan’s memoir. Fractional love and uncomfortable rage toward her father blend with her longing for his abusive behavior to disappear and leave only the often extraordinary father. Cohan’s crystalline honest prose brings the reader inside the dilemma of caring for an aging parent who brought her torment laced with love and magic–what is it like to adore, fear, and protect yourself from the father you feared and cherished?
Randy Susan Meyers
author of The Murderer’s Daughters
Deborah Cohan has written a brave and beautiful memoir….not ‘beautiful’ in the sense of pretty or lovely or sugarcoated in any way. Beautifully written, yes, but also beautiful in its raw, graphic honesty—that is, in the sense that truth is beauty. There is much hard-won wisdom in these pages–wisdom gleaned from Cohan’s years of caregiving for an abusive parent–and it will benefit those who find themselves navigating that rocky terrain. But this is also a story about life and death, love and loss, and the complicated nature of family and relationship. Which makes Welcome to Wherever We Are a universal story, one with wisdom for us all.