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Places to Look for a Mother: A Novel
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Places to Look for a Mother: A Novel

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  153 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
In the tradition of Mona Simpson’s Anywhere But Here, Places to Look for a Mother tells a tale of mostly maddening mother-daughter bonds. Forgiveness is always there, but it’s hard to find. And Stansbury’s fractured Taylor family, led by the thoroughly eccentric matriarch, Miriam Taylor, usually loses it. With lithe prose, pitch-perfect dialogue, and gloriously real
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 31st 2003 by Carroll & Graf (first published February 19th 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kalani
Oct 18, 2008 Kalani rated it did not like it
I got about two-thirds of the way through this book and stopped reading. It was depressing, and although there were moments of brief insight and humor that I appreciated, there were also themes that I didn't like. I like to read for education and also for entertainment - I didn't really get either from this book. It's going back to the Goodwill Store.
Jessica (booneybear)
I find this book very difficult to review. Nicole Stansbury is an excellent author. Without her wonderful storytelling, I don't know how I would have had the patience for such a dysfunctional family. I am a person that craves stability and there was absolutely no stability for the family in this book. I found the family very maddening. But I suppose that was the entire point of the book.

Stansbury did an excellent job making the reader go through so many emotions toward the character of the mothe
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Shanna
Aug 19, 2008 Shanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took an interesting trip into the lives of one very disfunctional family lead by their disturbed and immature mother.
It took me a while to really see what the point of the book was but I liked the story and the characters involvement with each other.
Jane Dewitt
May 18, 2010 Jane Dewitt rated it really liked it
if you have had a somewhat eccentric mother, you'll like this. I did.
Heather
Apr 10, 2011 Heather marked it as to-read
Shelves: never-finished
I'm going to put this one back on the shelf. I'll try again someday.
Mandy
May 02, 2009 Mandy rated it it was amazing
This book was so good. I couldnt put it down.
Renee
May 07, 2012 Renee rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and poignant. Shocking at times, but provided just enough salt for the wounds.
Gretchen
May 20, 2008 Gretchen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: disfunctional familes, touchy-feely folks
Recommended to Gretchen by: I just "happened" upon it at the library sale
I am having a hard time thinking of how to review this book. At the beginning, I really loved the book. I love how "wordy" the author is and how easy it is to relate to the main character. In the middle of the book, I was sick of all of the mother's CRAP. I really wanted to tell her off for being such a selfish, self-centered jerk. But, by the end of the book, Lucy (main character) helped redeem her mother & I could understand why the family had put up with the mom for so long. It is just ho ...more
Caitlin Robert
Feb 15, 2016 Caitlin Robert rated it liked it
I'm not sure what I think about this book. I liked it but I'm not sure that I see anything heartwarming in it. Miriam, to me, is horrible and I didn't find that any of her few pros outweighed her many, many cons. I honestly couldn't understand why one of her many abusive husbands or boyfriends didn't just kill her already. I found Lucy unlikable as she got older but I liked her voice and narration. I don't understand her odd loyalty to her mother after everything but it also was set in a differe ...more
Carla
Nov 01, 2012 Carla rated it did not like it
I initially pick up this book read the first few pages and put it back on my bookshelf. After a year of it sitting there I finally decided to read it and wished I hadn't. I can't say this is one of my favorite books. It is my first time reading Nicole Stansbury and maybe this shouldn't have been my first choice. The mother in this book absolutely frustrated me and made me angry at how foolish and childish she was. For being a psychiatrist I honestly think she needed to see one. I felt bad for he ...more
Nancy Monson
Jan 27, 2009 Nancy Monson rated it liked it
Shelves: novels, pop-lit
I read this book in the throes of watching my mother die and I suppose I was looking for places to look for a mother, too. Although my story is different than the main character's, and I did not find what I was looking for, there is solace in the book in the character's ultimate acceptance of her mother's weird world, her commitment to move beyond a lack of deserved mothering and make her own life, and a willingness to become a mere observer of her own mother's weird world without becoming trapp ...more
Jewel
Sep 24, 2008 Jewel rated it liked it
Nicole is my son's favorite teacher and she is also a great author. She offers enough description that you can picture everything, without being overbearing with nonsense details that you could do without (as I'm finding with "Love in the Time of Cholera").
In so many ways it is tough to believe this book is pure fiction. I've known people like this mom, and what early on seems like harmless eccentrics, later evolves to be an obvious deterioration of her mental heatlh. There was humor to be foun
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Claire Blomeley
Jan 31, 2015 Claire Blomeley rated it liked it
Thought-provoking, somewhat depressing and sad. This is the tale of young girl whose mom is not able to mother her. It alternately made me sad and enraged me. The mom is so ungrounded emotionally she expects everyone else to parent HER - including her kids. The book also does a good job of describing what it was like to grow up in the American Midwest in the 1960's. A lot of what is described in the book may not happen today.
Sarahjvs
Mar 09, 2015 Sarahjvs rated it it was ok
Lord this book took me months to read. I kept getting so frustrated and putting it down, then thinking "it can't be as bad as all that" and picking I tip again. I will say I am glad I finished it because it gave me opportunity to realize how unstable the mom was (it took me a long time to realize it!) but whoa, I could have totally read something else instead and been OK with it. The second I was done I was relieved!
Ann Marie
Aug 22, 2014 Ann Marie rated it liked it
This book took me more than two months to read...MORE THAN TWO MONTHS...the reviews on its jacket claim it was hysterical...laugh out loud side splitting humor...WHAT - WHERE...honestly I do not know who you pay for these reviews...it was not a bad book...it was an overly honest look at a seriously messed up family but far from funny - it was extremely sad in the fact that it was and is true of so many familys
Lisa
Feb 19, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it
This was a book that I read pretty quickly, so it definitely kept my interest. It takes place in the 60's and 70's, but some of the issues and situations seemed like they did not fit that time period. Especially the lifestyles that were somewhat accepted. Good character development, although some portions were offensive to me. Not graphic, but offensive.
Anita
Feb 27, 2011 Anita rated it it was ok
The story of a poisonous relationship of mother and daughter with a mother that would be unbelievable if you haven't read Glass Castles. I enjoyed the locations--mostly Utah, but some California--Solvang!, Wyoming, and some of the descriptions of life growing up in the 70's. This was as depressing as Glass Castles with none of the humor or feeling of triumph.
Julie
Mar 23, 2008 Julie rated it it was ok
A bit like Angela's Ashes in that the misery just goes on and on much longer than necessary to get how disfunctional things were. If you have a parent with Borderline Personality Disorder, or some such malady, it may be interesting to compare your experience with this but otherwise, not worth your time.
Shannon
Apr 10, 2009 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gritty and raw recollection of growing up with a disfunctional mother and a father unsure how to love. It's mildly entertaining. It will keep you from getting rings on your wooden coffee tables if you need a quick fix. :/
Olivia
Apr 24, 2011 Olivia rated it it was ok
Strange, I feel like it is about some one I know.
Gen
Mar 09, 2008 Gen rated it liked it
I thought this was well written, heartbreaking and tragic. I only give it three stars because I REALLY, REALLY hated the mother. But, I suppose that was the point. Those poor girls!
Crystal
Aug 26, 2014 Crystal rated it it was ok
The writing was good, and the characters hit too close to home, to a point where it was hard to read. But the storyline just never went anywhere.
Laurie
May 04, 2008 Laurie rated it really liked it
Story about a family. Mother is high-strung and dramatic and daughters lives are in general upheaval because of it.
Darlene
Feb 08, 2009 Darlene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not great!
Cathy Scholtens
Cathy Scholtens rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2014
Shannon
Shannon rated it liked it
Oct 07, 2007
Helen
Helen rated it liked it
Sep 17, 2009
Amber
Amber rated it liked it
Oct 09, 2009
Margaret
Margaret rated it it was amazing
Feb 15, 2017
Mindy
Mindy rated it liked it
Mar 28, 2017
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