BLOG TOUR & REVIEW So Far Away by Chrstine Hartmann

Book Description

November 18, 2011
Christine Hartmann's mother valued control above all else, yet one event appeared beyond her command: the timing of her own death. Not to be denied there either, two decades in advance Irmgard Hartmann chose the date on which to end her life. And her next step was to tell her daughter all about it. For twenty years, Irmgard maintained an unwavering goal, to commit suicide at age seventy. She managed her chronic hypertension, stayed healthy and active, and lived life to the fullest. Meanwhile, Christine fought desperately against the decision. When Irmgard wouldn't listen, the only way to remain part of her life was for Christine to swallow her mother's plans--hook, line, and sinker.

Christine's father, as it turned out, prepared too slowly for old age. Before he had made any decision, fate disabled him through a series of strokes. Confined to a nursing home, severely impaired by dementia and frustrated by his circumstances, his life epitomized the predicament her mother wanted to avoid. 

So Far Away gives us an intimate view of a person interacting with and reacting to her parents at the ends of their lives. In a richly detailed, poignant story of family members' separate yet interwoven journeys, it underscores the complexities and opportunities that life presents each one of us.

About the Author

Christine W. Hartmann, Research Health Scientist, ENR Memorial Veterans Hospital, Bedford, Massachusetts, and Assistant Professor, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, received her PhD at the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She has published numerous articles on healthcare quality improvement, focusing particularly on long-term care. 
Hatmann should be thanked for publishing this important story about her own loss and relating the discussions she had with her mother about suicide.  There are so many people right now that this same story is happening to since baby boomers are experiencing 


  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press (November 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082651796X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826517968


Christine Hartmann's mother. Irmgard, tells her that she plans on committing suicide when she turns seventy.  No matter how many discussions mother and daughter have about it, the fact remains that Irmgard does not want to live through a painful end.  After watching her brilliant father descend into dementia and suffer strokes, her mother is determined not to share the same fate.  Hartmann has recreated her conversations with her mother to tell her about the loss she suffered when both her parents pass.  This is a very emotional memoir that will hit home with anyone who has lost a parent. 

Hartmann should be thanked for publishing this important story about her own grief and loss of her parents.   It is a story that everyone can relate to that has elderly parents and one that should open discussions about your own end of life choices with your children.  I was truly heartbroken by the end of the story when her mother actually follows through with the act.  Even though it was discussed, I don't think Hartmann actually ever thought that her mother would go through with it.  This is something all parents and children need to talk about before life gets to a point where you can't make an informed choice. 

    1 comment:

    1. This sounds like a powerful and moving book. I do hope that it opens up discussions in families facing similar situations.

      Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.


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