The Stemwinder

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A book review of The Stemwinder: Stories of a Faithful Care Manager by Denise M. Valerio & Nicole Forston

A book review of The Stemwinder: Stories of a Faithful Care Manager by Denise M. Valerio & Nicole ForstonStars: ***

Valerio Care Management (2019)
220 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: What if you had to decide if an elderly woman should or shouldn’t take a chemo pill, extending or curtailing her remaining years? What if you were faced with filing criminal charges against someone’s family member? What if you had to contend with harassment and personal threats to protect another’s mental well-being? Denise M. Valerio takes you on a spin through her care management milieu introducing three extraordinary souls: “The Broken Dish,” “The Proper New Englander,” and “The Gentle Soul.”
In this debut memoir, The Stemwinder is a portrait of Valerio’s professional experiences told in raw and emotional context. Laced with sexual abuse, depression, caregiver overwhelm, domestic violence, and degenerative brain disorders, each account offers an intimate view of the care management profession. Most prominently, each story is demonstrative of amity, compassion, and unvarnished love. Collectively, they are breathtaking expressions of the human condition. Reliving selected memories from her own past, a wider picture comes to life revealing an exquisite interconnection that binds the tapestry of her life.

The Stemwinder

I like reading memoirs of jobs I’ve never had to learn more about them. This is a memoir of a Care Manager which I thought was the same thing as a caregiver but it’s not. A caregiver might help with everyday tasks such as preparing food, bathing, taking medicine, etc. A care manager acts as a power of attorney for someone who can’t make decisions for themselves, like someone with dementia. If there is no obvious family member who can or should take on the job, a care manager is hired. This person makes decisions about their client’s life such as what to do with their home and pets when they must go live in a care facility and what to do with their money.

I learned so much reading this memoir. The first part was a little slow and confusing but after that I found it very interesting. I think with a remade opening the book could do well. I had no idea such a job existed, let alone how hard it must be.

Denise shares tidbits of her personal life too which I found just as interesting. I think it’s important that the memoir shares who the care manager is when she is not doing her job.

Unfortunately the book is not available on Amazon yet but hopefully soon.

About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.