This collection includes many of today’s best writers reflecting on their first and often most important relationship. The result is sometimes searing, sometimes comforting, often touching, and always deeply humane. Recommended By Keith M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
*Most Anticipated Reads of 2019 Selection by Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, The Rumpus, Lit Hub, and The Week*
Fifteen brilliant writers explore what we don't talk to our mothers about, and how it affects us, for better or for worse.
As an undergraduate, Michele Filgate started writing an essay about being abused by her stepfather. It took her more than a decade to realize what she was actually trying to write: how this affected her relationship with her mother. When it was finally published, the essay went viral, shared on social media by Anne Lamott, Rebecca Solnit, and many others. The outpouring of responses gave Filgate an idea, and the resulting anthology offers a candid look at our relationships with our mothers.
While some of the writers in this book are estranged from their mothers, others are extremely close. Leslie Jamison writes about trying to discover who her seemingly perfect mother was before ever becoming a mom. In Cathi Hanauer's hilarious piece, she finally gets a chance to have a conversation with her mother that isn't interrupted by her domineering (but lovable) father. Andr Aciman writes about what it was like to have a deaf mother. Melissa Febos uses mythology as a lens to look at her close-knit relationship with her psychotherapist mother. And Julianna Baggott talks about having a mom who tells her everything.
As Filgate writes, "Our mothers are our first homes, and that's why we're always trying to return to them." There's relief in breaking the silence. Acknowledging what we couldn't say for so long is one way to heal our relationships with others and, perhaps most important, with ourselves.
Contributors include Cathi Hanauer, Melissa Febos, Alexander Chee, Dylan Landis, Bernice L. McFadden, Julianna Baggott, Lynn Steger Strong, Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado, Andr Aciman, Sari Botton, Nayomi Munaweera, Brandon Taylor, and Leslie Jamison.
"A fascinating set of reflections on what it is like to be a son or daughter… the range of stories and styles represented in this collection makes for rich and rewarding reading." Publishers Weekly
"These are the hardest stories in the world to tell, but they are told with absolute grace. You will devour these beautifully written — and very important — tales of honesty, pain, and resilience.” Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love
"The essays all address the authors' relationships with their mothers in stories to be savored but not necessarily read in one sitting.…beautifully composed." Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Fifteen essayists — many luminaries — write unflinchingly about their mothers...Each one of these intimate and gut-wrenching essays reaches beyond itself to forge connections with readers." Kirkus (Starred Review)
“These essays, each one exceptional on its own, encompass both love and writing at their most vulnerable, and could power entire cities with their electricity.” Booklist (Starred Review)
About the Author
Michele Filgate’s work has appeared in Longreads; The Washington Post; the Los Angeles Times; The Boston Globe; The Paris Review Daily; Tin House; Gulf Coast; O, The Oprah Magazine; BuzzFeed; Refinery29; and many other publications. Currently, she is an MFA student at NYU, where she is the recipient of the Stein Fellowship. She’s a contributing editor at Literary Hub and teaches at the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop and Catapult. What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About is her first book.