Fifteen writers—including Alexander Chee, Carmen Maria Machado, Kiese Laymon, Brandon Taylor, Leslie Jamison, and more—explore what we don’t talk to our mothers about, and how it affects us, for better or for worse.
...a collection of intimate and authentic personal essays, with each piece telling its own heartfelt story of silence ... Each essay is a complete experience in itself, with its own arc and epiphany. Even though many essays share the same theme, they are written by authors from different worlds, and each deserves our full attention ... Filgate has done a magnificent job of gathering pieces written with love and passion ... what remains is the astonishment of unimaginable emotions.
This generous, mature recognition of the ways in which so many of us overestimate the capacities of mothers — who were people with lives and loves and wants and hurts and complexities before they ever gave birth — colors many of the stunning essays in this anthology ... Though no two essays feel even remotely alike, there are recurring themes ... While each essay is its own beast, containing its own wild, wonderful, woeful, willful or warring mother figure, the collection as a whole holds together precisely because there is something recognizable in each and every piece ... each and every one comes to recognize this fact: that every mother is human first, mother second.
...my best answer to the question of whether you should gift this to your mom is, 'Sure, if you don't mind having some uncomfortable conversations.' That's not an insult, by any means ... Chicken Soup for the Soul this ain't. There's a lot of pain in this book — ranging from the simple yearning to know Mom better to the trauma of abuse and addiction — and the tales come from a diverse, accomplished array of writers ... Reading the book is to take the sacred mother-child ideal down from its pedestal and inspect it, dissect it, run tests on it, muck it up a bit ... it's also about the gut punch that happens when some children are forced to legitimately wonder just how good their mothers' intentions ever were ... As it turns out, in a relationship where love is so often implied, so much else still needs saying.