Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: What My Mother Gave Me

I enjoy short stories and was prepared to like this collection enormously. Some of my favorite women authors are represented in this collection--Joyce Carol Oates, Eleanor Clift, Luanne Rice, and Lisa See to name a few. The thirty-one contributors were asked to relate stories about their relationships with their mothers. Some were touching, others seemed a bit contrived. I especially loved Oates' description of the multi-colored patchwork quilt her mother had given her and how she would curl up with it during the terrible period of her first husband's illness and subsequent unexpected death. I could almost picture a small child clutching a "lovey".

The premise behind the collection is a good one, the stories are short and easy to read, even if their quality is a bit spotty. It speaks of tangible inheritances, such as jewelry and horses, to more ethereal but just as long-lasting gifts of life lessons, such as when Eleanor Clift says "On the surface, my mother was a deferential housewife, but she shared her secret weapon with me when I was still a girl: 'Do what you want to do. Just don't talk about it.'"

It is a book that would be a lovely gift to exchange between mothers and daughters.

Title: What My Mother Gave me : Thirty One Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most
Author: Edited by Elizabeth Benedict
Publisher: Algonquin Books (2013)
Genre: short stories
Subject: mother-daughter relations
Source: egalley from publisher via Net Galley
Why did I read this book now? I like the genre, and the cover grabbed me.

Many thanks to the publisher for making a copy available for review.


  1. I too enjoy short stories..but the patchy quality gives me pause.

  2. I like the cover too. I suppose it would be a good Mother's Day idea?!


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