Synopses & Reviews
When Hope Edelman finished writing Motherless Daughters
, she thought she had said all she could about the long-term effects of early mother loss. Published in 1994, the book touched a nerve in women across the country and went on to become an enduring New York Times
bestseller. Edelman, who was seventeen when her own mother died, told the collective story of mother loss with such candor, empathy, and informed wisdom that she quickly became a widely recognized expert on the topic.
But when she became a parent, she found herself revisiting her loss in ways she had never anticipated. Now the mother of two young girls, Edelman set out to learn how the loss of a mother to death or abandonment can affect the ways women raise their own children. From her exhaustive investigation, including a survey of more than one thousand women, comes Motherless Mothers, the enlightening and inspiring next step in the motherless journey.
Using her own story as a prism, Edelman reveals the unique anxieties and desires these mothers experience as they raise their children without the help of a living maternal guide. She examines their parenting choices, their unexpected triumphs, and their fears, from the initial decision to have a child, through pregnancy, the delivery room, and the child-rearing years. Identifying "Eight Themes of Motherless Mothers" that cut across all racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines, Edelman illuminates how the experience of loss directly impacts the ways in which these women parent their own children.
Enriched by the voices of the mothers themselves, as well as filled with practical insight and advice from experienced professionals, this impeccably researched and luminously written book offers motherless mothers the guidance and support they want and need.
"Edelman first undertook this painful topic in 1994 (Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss), drawing from her own experience of losing her mother at 17. Now a mother herself, she considers how her mother's absence has shaped her seven years of parenting. Through interviews, anecdotes and psychological research, Edelman discusses the challenge of mothering in the shadow of someone gone, which often triggers a resurgence of childhood grief and confusion. But this is less a book on mourning than a supportive guide for mothers who may feel overwhelmed and alone, bereft of their own mothers' presence, advice and support. Chapters address general child-rearing topics for each age group with focuses specific to the reader: the void of the absent grandmother, the urge to overcompensate and the perpetual impulse to protect one's family from the specter of loss. Bereavement counselors examine the process of revisiting a traumatic youth through one's children, which affords the opportunity to heal. Edelman's voice, suffused with fierce maternal love, joins the candid recollections from motherless mothers of all ages and backgrounds. She presents emotionally charged concepts in clear, memorable terms (e.g., reaching the 'neon number' of a mother's age of death) to encourage frank, cathartic discussion." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“An important book. One that will help so many people.” New York Newsday
“A wonderful new book...it will help you and make you cry.” Jacquelyn Mitchard, Tribune Media Services
“A heartfelt and practical work.” Los Angeles Times
“Smart...Edelman maps the sorrow and longing felt by mothers who are motherless themselves. “ The Oregonian
“Offers hope...a cathartic book.” Toledo Blade
Fascinating...Edelman illuminates the transformative power of understanding mother loss [and] offers essential wisdom. Library Journal
About the Author
Hope Edelman has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master's degree in creative nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Motherless Daughters and its companion volume, Letters from Motherless Daughters. She lives in Topanga Canyon, California, with her husband and their two daughters.