The Mercy Papers by Robin Romm
A Memoir of Three Weeks

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When Robin Romm's The Mother Garden was published, The New York Times Book Review called her "a close-up magician," saying, "hers is the oldest kind [of magic] we know: the ordinary incantation of words and stories to help us navigate the darkness and finally to hold the end at bay." In her searing memoir The Mercy Papers, Romm uses this magic to expand the weeks before her mother's death into a story about a daughter in the moments before and after loss.

With a striking mix of humor and honesty, Romm ushers us into a world where an obstinate hospice nurse tries to heal through pamphlets and a yelping grandfather squirrels away money in a shoe-shine kit. Untrained dogs scamper about as strangers and friends rally around death, offering sympathy as they clamor for attention. The pillbox turns quickly into a metaphor for order; questions about medication turn to musings about God. The mundane and spiritual melt together as Romm reveals the sharp truths that lurk around every corner and captures, with great passion, the awe, fear, and fury of a daughter losing her mother.

The Mercy Papers was started in the midst of heartbreak, and not originally intended for an audience. The result is a raw, unsentimental book that reverberates with humanity. Robin Romm has created a tribute to family and an indelible portrait that will speak to anyone who has ever loved and lost.

About Robin Romm

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Robin Romm is the author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, The Mother Garden, which was a finalist for the 2008 PEN USA Fiction Award. Born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, she currently lives in Berkeley, California, and New Mexico, where she is assistant professor of creative writing and literature at the College of Santa Fe.
Published January 6, 2009 by Scribner. 228 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

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Describing the hardship of watching her mother Jackie slowly succumb to breast cancer after a nine-year battle, Romm (The Mother Garden, 2007) immediately makes it clear which side she’s on: life, at any cost.

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The New York Times

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$22 'The Mother Garden: Stories,' by Robin Romm: Death Becomes Her (July 8, 2007) Times Health Guide: Breast Cancer In concrete terms, the problem is Romm’s anguish over the impending death of her mother, Jackie Romm.

Jan 02 2009 | Read Full Review of The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of...

Entertainment Weekly

Back when she was in graduate school at Berkeley, Robin Romm was abruptly called home to her mother's deathbed in New York.

Dec 31 2008 | Read Full Review of The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of...

USA Today

When Robin Romm was 19, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Bookmarks Magazine

… At the same time, with artfulness, candor and unexpected but welcome wit, Romm tells their mother/daughter story through nine years of flashbacks since Jackie’s diagnosis at 46, when Romm was 19."

Jan 04 2009 | Read Full Review of The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of...


But right now, he is the ghost boyfriend of a ghost me—and both of us are besides the point.” Populated by various hospice nurses, her father, friends of her mother and the new dog Mercy—chosen for all of her puppyish exuberance and devotion as a counterbalance to all the doom—her childhood hous...

Feb 19 2009 | Read Full Review of The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of...

Santa Fe Reporter

More Mar 11, 2013 By Robert Wilder Comments 0 In The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of Three Weeks, author Robin Romm has opened herself to the world in a courageous little book that chronicles the three weeks before her mother Jackie’s death.

Jan 21 2009 | Read Full Review of The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of...

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