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Ann Burack-Weiss explores a rich variety of published memoirs by authors who cared for ill or disabled family members. Contrary to the common belief that caregiving is nothing more than a stressful situation to be endured, memoirs describe a life transforming experience-self-discovery, a reordering of one's priorities, and a changed view of the world. The Caregiver's Tale
offers insight and comfort to individuals caring for a loved one and is a valuable resource for all health care professionals.
Identifying common themes, Burack-Weiss describes how the illness career and social meaning of cancer, dementia, HIV/AIDS, mental illness, and chemical dependence affect the caregiving experience. She applies the same method to an examination of family roles: parents caring for ailing children, couples and siblings caring for one another, and adult children caring for aging parents.
Jamaica Kincaid, Sue Miller, Paul Monette, Kenzaburo O , and Philip Roth are among the many authors who share their caregiving stories. Burack-Weiss provides an annotated bibliography of the more than one hundred memoirs and an accompanying chart to help readers locate those of greatest interest to them.