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Zoe FitzGerald Carter

Zoe FitzGerald Carter is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and has written for The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Newsweek, and Vogue. Her memoir, Imperfect Endings: A Daughter’s Story of Love, Loss, and Letting Go was excerpted in O magazine, chosen as a finalist for the National MS Society's Books for a Better Life Award, and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer's pick. Zoe teaches memoir at the San Francisco Writers Grotto and plays in an indie folk band called Sugartown.

Imperfect Endings:
A Daughter’s Story of Love, Loss and Letting Go

Zoe Carter’s busy life on the West Coast with her husband and daughters takes an unexpected detour when her glamorous, independent-minded mother, Margaret, decides she wants to end things. Tired of living with Parkinson’s disease, Margaret declares she is no longer willing to go where the illness is taking her. Unsure how—or when—she will end her life, she is certain of one thing: she wants her three daughters there when she does it. Stunned by the prospect of losing her mother and concerned about the legal ramifications of participating in her suicide, Zoe does what she can to convince her mother to abandon her plans. But for nearly a year, Margaret will talk of nothing else. Calling Zoe at random times of the day, she blithely asks which would be better: overdosing on morphine or Seconal? Getting help from the Hemlock Society or doing it on her own? And when would be a good time—February or May? Or how about June? Capturing the stresses and the joys of the “sandwich generation” while bringing a provocative new perspective to the assisted suicide debate, Imperfect Endings is the uplifting story of a woman determined to die on her own terms and the family who has to learn to let her go.


“I could quote from the book all day . . . but instead I'll just recommend that those intrigued by the subject spend a little time with the ailing but ferocious Margaret and her daughters. A decision to die can sound romantic or it can sound repugnant. Carter shows us what it was like in reality."
—Paula Span, The New York Times

"Imperfect Endings is engaged with essential ethical questions... full of grace and acceptance."
—Robin Romm, San Francisco Chronicle

"An engaging and insightful tale of familial love, understanding, and forgiveness, shot through with a surprising amount of wit." —The Boston Globe




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