Motherless Daughters

Motherless Daughters

The Legacy of Loss

Book - 2014
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"For twenty years, this "beautifully written" (USA Today), "moving, comprehensive and insightful look at the lifelong ramifications of the loss of a mother" (San Francisco Chronicle) has been the book a woman can turn to for understanding and comfort when her mother dies. Building on interviews with hundreds of motherless daughters, Hope Edelman's unique and courageous work also reflects her personal experience with the continued legacy of mother loss. An exploration of a profoundly life-altering rite-of-passage, Motherless Daughters is for any woman who wants to better understand the mother-daughter relationship. "--
"An instant bestseller in both hardcover and paperback, Hope Edelman's Motherless Daughters explores the myriad ways that losing a mother can affect almost every aspect and passage of a woman's life. First published two decades ago, it is still the book that motherless daughters of all ages look to for understanding and comfort and that they press into each others' hands. Building on interviews with hundreds of mother- loss survivors, this life-affirming book also reflects Edelman's personal experience with the continued legacy of mother loss, as a wife and a mother of young children who better understands how the effects of mother loss change over time and in light of new relationships. A work of stunning courage and honesty, Motherless Daughters is a must read for the millions of women whose mothers have gone, but whose need for healing, mourning, and mothering remains"--
Publisher: Boston :, Da Capo Lifelong Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group,, [2014]
Edition: Twentieth Anniversary Edition.
ISBN: 9780738217734
Branch Call Number: 155.937 Edelman 04/2014
Characteristics: xxix, 361 pages ;,23 cm


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flevy2 Feb 28, 2013

Having lost my mother at the age of nineteen, I identified strongly with the first few chapters of this book, which talk about a daughter's abilities/mechanisms to cope with the loss of her mother at different ages. However, the middle and latter half of the book became very boring and difficult to relate to, as the author talked endlessly about her years of self-centered behavior and rebellion leading up to and following her mother's death. I couldn't relate to these stories, and neither can the women who recommended this book to me; they all stopped reading around the middle of the book, but like me they found the first few chapters valuable.

However, an even bigger problem I have with this book is the author's subtle homophobia. She spends a great deal of time talking about heterosexual women's relationships with men following their mother's deaths, but very little time talking about the lesbian experience--even though she incorporates interviews and survey statistics throughout her book that come from heterosexual AND queer women. What few words the author DOES devote to the lesbian experience end up portraying a woman's homosexuality as a choice--either unconscious or deliberate--to regain emotional and physical closeness with her deceased mother. This conclusion is not only insulting, but ridiculous--especially considering that the author is not a mental health care professional.

In summary, I recommend the first few chapters of this book for motherless daughters who need to hear that they are not alone in their experiences of grief at any stage of life. But I don't recommend relying on this author's perspective of motherless daughters' love and intimacy with romantic partners; she can only tell people what SHE experienced as a heterosexual woman of a specific ethnicity and socioeconomic class. Her experiences with romance do NOT translate into the universal conclusions she insultingly tries to draw.

Feb 22, 2013

I read this book 30 years after I lost my mother and the author's insights were so helpful I would say this book changed my life. I often recommend it to others.


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