When Maggie’s mom, Iris, dies in a car crash, Maggie returns home to a withdrawn dad, an angry brother, and five sealed envelopes, each addressed to different men she’s never heard of. In an effort to run from her own grief and discover the truth about Iris Maggie embarks on a road trip, determined to hand-deliver the letters and find out what these men meant to her mother.
... can feel thin at times, though it’s a testament to Masad’s writing that I wanted more from the world she created: more depth to Iris’s letters, which read more like camp-pen-pal correspondence than confessions from the grave; and more dimension to Maggie’s dad, Peter, who spends most of the novel out of sorts, only to drop a bombshell at the end that feels pat and underexplored ... Yet Masad is deft and incisive about the sometimes-fraught nature of mother-daughter relationships, around which loaded subtext can seem to twist and twine like Christmas lights. And she affectingly plumbs the mind-bending hugeness that is losing a parent.
Occasional chapters from Iris’ perspective fill in the story ... A sort of mother-daughter road-trip novel, this explores the idea that we’re all incomplete and forever subject to change, especially to those we love.
...an empathetic portrait of a difficult mother-daughter relationship intercut with grief, road trips and queer romance ... In a way, All My Mother's Lovers resembles a coming-of-age novel, inasmuch as learning to forgive and accept your parents--and the insecurities they've handed down--is a critical part of growing up ... a raw, emotional book about acceptance and the kind of complicated, messy love that sometimes takes years to comprehend.