Does life writing offer opportunities to reveal something about the nature of care? Leslie Swartz’s award-winning book, How I Lost My Mother (2021), illuminates many insights about the nature of care. The book tells, among other things, the circuitous route by which this prominent South African, Jewish psychologist came to write such a book. The book, though ostensibly about his mother’s life also ‘is about other things’: ‘what care is and how we care for one another;…memory and how we remember …identity and how we become (and create) who we are’ (xii).

What it is not, however, is a tale about heroism in the face of difficulty or tragedy. In being an honest account of a complicated woman, a complicated son, and their complicated relationship, it raises a number of issues about the role of life writing in resolving some of the current debates in studies of care. This review will describe how I think Swartz helps to advance these current debates.

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