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How I Learned to Cook:...
Margo Perin
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How I Learned to Cook: And Other Writings on Complex Mother-Daughter Relationships

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A collection of writings by women on the tangled bonds they share with their (often) less-than-perfect mothers. Every woman has something to say on the subject of her mother. In fact, many of us spend our lives trying to figure out just how we are like--or unlike--them. And yet, as intricate as the ties that bind mothers and daughters can be, most women never let go of the ...more
Published April 1st 2004 by Turtleback Books (first published March 30th 2004)
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Supposedly a collection of stories revolving around complex mother-daughter relationships. I suppose that's true if complex means that the mothers were sociopaths, abusers, addicts, neglectful, suffering from mental illness, unloving, and/or warped human beings. This book was mentally and emotionally exhausting. One thing that stood out was how these women were able to write about their mothers so impassively, as though viewing their horrifying upbringings as mere "episodes" or even quirks. Whil ...more
Though I loved this book, the other reviewers are correct in stating that they are not for the faint at heart. In this case, "complex" is a synonym for "troubled", and many of the stories depict alcoholism and abuse. That being said, I feel that the majority of the stories are insightful and beautifully written. A couple of the stories focused on specific time periods--the Holocaust, the Red Scare--and while the period took some focus off the mother-daughter relationship, they provided interesti ...more
p.99 - Ruth Kluger
No one is as dependent as mothers are
on the dependency of their children.

p.304 - Kim Chernin
"Enough," he said, speaking to both of us. "Who can come to understanding through a tone like that?"

p.317 - Alice Walker
I've also discovered the world is full of mothers who've done their best and still hurt their daughters: that we have daughters everywhere.

Shocked by the damaged people of the early sections, I didn't clearly see those who came later.
if you love short stories as i do and especially if you are a daughter, you will love this book -- for one because it will remind you of your own life, experience and mother; so it will comfort you. and two, it will show you how imperfectly perfect and thus wonderful your own mother is and hence reading this book will make you be grateful for your own mother; it will make you feel relieved and blessed for having just her, just the way she is. : )
This collection of stories was not very compelling; it failed to move me to any emotion. I didn't feel like any author's story resonated with my own experience (like "Oh, someone else went through that with their mother too"). The collection is not large enough to organize around themes, like, body image, control issues, sexuality, career. A thematic organization would have made the book more interesting.
It's a great anthology with fantastic writers, but when the subtitle said it was about "complex" mother-daughter relationships, I expected heartwarming stories about growing up or something. This was mostly about abuse in all its forms, and the stories were extremely disturbing. "Complex?" Try "warped."
This book is a peek around the curtains and into the lives of others. And in the reflections of their stories we may better understand the complexities of our relationships with the figures whose ether authority ruled our childhoods and shaped our experiences with the world. Cathartic.
Mindy Danylak
every chapter was heart-breaking. some were better written than others. i read this book straight through and quickly, and was exhausted by the time i was done.
Good book, although some of the stories are hard to read because they are heavy with neglect and abuse. Great writing though.
I liked some of the stories, but at least half of them left me with the thought of "what was the point of that?".
Very dark. Cover photo is misleading.
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