*Most Anticipated Reads of 2019 Selection by Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, The Rumpus, Lit Hub, The Week, and Elle.com*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. André 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, André Aciman, Sari Botton, Nayomi Munaweera, Brandon Taylor, and Leslie Jamison.
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What My Mother and I Don't Talk About Review
- January 1, 1970Vivek TejujaRelationships are complex. Most relationships are not easy to navigate around. I think the one we share with our parents is most difficult. I have always had a problem expressing what I feel to my parents. I think it just stemmed from the fact that we do not speak enough or try to make ourselves heard enough. This has nothing to do with love not being there, or not being brought up in a healthy environment (at least in my case). It is just that we have not learned how to communicate with them. P Relationships are complex. Most relationships are not easy to navigate around. I think the one we share with our parents is most difficult. I have always had a problem expressing what I feel to my parents. I think it just stemmed from the fact that we do not speak enough or try to make ourselves heard enough. This has nothing to do with love not being there, or not being brought up in a healthy environment (at least in my case). It is just that we have not learned how to communicate with them. Perhaps that needs to change and maybe it will. Only time and effort can tell, to be honest. What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About is a compilation of essays by fifteen writers, edited by Michele Filgate. As the title suggests it is about breaking the silence. It is about talking to our mothers about what matters or has mattered the most. The collection starts with Michele’s essay about being abused by her stepfather. This took her almost more than a decade to write about and then to think how it would affect her relationship with her mother. This in turn encouraged her to reach out to other writers and see how they look at their relationships with their mothers. The collection see-saws from one extreme to another – while some writers are extremely close to their mothers, some are estranged beyond repair. It is the question of also mothers being first homes as we make our way into the world and a support system for most. The one whose validation we seek the most and the one with whom we also fight the most. This collection is solid and comes from a diverse selection of writers and what they do not talk about: family, love, abuse, secrets, expectations, and disappointments to say the least. My favourite pieces from the book were the ones written by Alexander Chee (about his sexual abuse and his not being able to fit in at school at the same time), Michele Filgate (as I mentioned it is about abuse by her stepfather), Brandon Taylor, (most heart wrenching according to me about how he wish he could’ve understood his mother better), and Nayomi Munaweera (she speaks about her mother’s borderline personality disorder). Regret, estrangement, the universal feeling of love and pain are the running themes in this book. There is a common trait that we all identify and relate with: That of lack of communication. How sometimes mothers don’t listen and how we don’t say what we must. But not all of the essays stem out of pain. Some are funny (rare) and some are just looking at their mothers differently – a new perspective and realizing themselves in the process, which I think we must all look at. Reading an essay or a collection of essays such as these is so intimate that it physically hurts you. It makes you see yourself as a person and whether or not you have evolved in relation to your mother. What is the basis of your relationship with her, beside the fact that she gave birth to you? What it actually means to get closure when you need it the most? What it does to you to take the step and speak out loud? What would it then do to your other relationships, once you cross this barrier with your mother and try and face the concealed truth? We all go through this. We have all been there. This book if anything speaks to all of us and will for sure make you sit up and perhaps call your mother.more
- January 1, 1970MelissaA very solid collection of essays from a diverse selection of writers about the things they don’t talk to their mothers about: family history, abuse, love, protection, secrets, first husbands, expectations. Particularly poignant essays are from Alexander Chee and Brandon Taylor (the last few pages of Brandon’s gutted me, not because it’s graphic or horrible, but because it’s a wish to have understood his mom and who he knew her to be).more
- January 1, 1970JaimeEvery essay in here - and so many great writers! - was thought-provoking and brought something new to the table. I loved how different the essays were and the richness of the collection.
- January 1, 1970HillaryThis collection of essays is human, vulnerable, and at times cathartic. It is uneven at times, but highlights unique literary voices and encourages self reflection and forgiveness.It is not really what I thought it would be - and with so many voices, there were obviously some essays that stand out as higher quality, that resonated more with me and made a more lasting impression. I was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity - in gender, ethnicity, economic background, life trauma experiences, This collection of essays is human, vulnerable, and at times cathartic. It is uneven at times, but highlights unique literary voices and encourages self reflection and forgiveness.It is not really what I thought it would be - and with so many voices, there were obviously some essays that stand out as higher quality, that resonated more with me and made a more lasting impression. I was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity - in gender, ethnicity, economic background, life trauma experiences, etc. - that was included in the collection. There were not many essays that hit on the central theme of the first titular essay, and instead ended up being stories of flawed, often misunderstood women whose lives have confused or alienated their children.I'm grateful for the vulnerability displayed by the authors included in this collection. It made me want to be more vulnerable, too. I'd love to sit in a circle with all of them, each of us holding hands. Our mothers are unknowable, whether they are friends or strangers. We're unknowable to them, as well. There's no fixing it, not really, but we can start talking about it.more
- January 1, 1970EmmaBeginning with the title essay, this is a powerful and candid collection on a universal theme, showing the scope of mother-daughter relationships and their impact.
- January 1, 1970TracyEach story was so different as the writers discussed their relationships with their mothers. In many ways, the fact that the writers write for a living was irrelevent, except that they told their stories beautifully. So many kinds of mother child relationships in the world.more
- January 1, 1970DavidThese are some intense essays. I responded to some more than others, but they all latch onto a live wire. Good writing, moving, and engaging. Nice stuff.
- January 1, 1970RachelI absolutely love this. A tremendous, bright, beautiful list of contributors all telling such complex, thoughtful stories about their mothers. Made my brain whir about my own mom, the stories she has to tell, and the stories I choose to tell myself about her. Seriously glorious. Read it.more
- January 1, 1970Katie DevineMichele Filgate has curated this beautiful collection of essays that explore a vast range of complex and challenging maternal relationships. The depth and emotional range of this work is incredible. Led by her own powerful piece about her struggle with a mother who stays married to the stepfather who abused her, it features heartbreaking, humorous and illuminating work by literary rockstars including Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado and Leslie Jamison. Especially moving for me were the essays Michele Filgate has curated this beautiful collection of essays that explore a vast range of complex and challenging maternal relationships. The depth and emotional range of this work is incredible. Led by her own powerful piece about her struggle with a mother who stays married to the stepfather who abused her, it features heartbreaking, humorous and illuminating work by literary rockstars including Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado and Leslie Jamison. Especially moving for me were the essays by longtime favorite authors Alexander Chee, Melissa Febos and Andre Aciman, as well as new-to-me authors Nayomi Munaweera and Brandon Taylor. I will look forward to continuing to read everything they write now.A solid, important collection that will stay with me and that I can recommend without reservation.more
- January 1, 1970Jacob CollierThis is a life changing book that I have read after a long time. You can buy this and many other bestsellers at great discounts from here: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks...
- January 1, 1970SkyeThis book is a powerhouse of universal truths wrapped in unique and engaging stories. I enjoyed each author, without exception, and felt like I could highlight or underline the entire book. This thought provoking anthology will break your heart with its honesty and relatability. It is a collection of essays that will stay with you long past this relatively quick read. Your mother is your first home and this book helps bring you back to her, for better or worse.more
- January 1, 1970Shea VanKirka truly wonderful essay anthology.
- January 1, 1970CarolynExcellent. My favorites were Mother Tongue by Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body/My Body by Nayomi Munaweera, I Met Fear on the Hill by Leslie Jamison, and Are You Listening? by Andre Aciman.
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