Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Her Mother's Daughter” as Want to Read:
Her Mother's Daughter
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Her Mother's Daughter

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  558 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Famed feminist Marilyn French’s life-affirming saga celebrates the love and sacrifices of four generations of Polish-American mothers and daughters.

With Bella Dabrowski close to death, her daughter Anastasia, who has reinvented herself as Stacey Stevens, is trying to penetrate the longstanding barriers between them to understand the woman who gave her life.

Through the eyes
...more
Paperback
Published September 1st 1996 by Ballantine Books (Mm) (first published 1987)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Her Mother's Daughter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Her Mother's Daughter

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Ruth
Mar 10, 2009 Ruth added it
French works hard to present honest portrayals of how hard woman did and do work to make family work. Impressive, if a bit oppressive, at this point.

My what a heavy read - literarlly (686 pages) and literally (not much plot, lots (perhaps too much) emotion. All the characters at one time or another, and some all the time, were overwhelmed with melancholy, a sense of hopelessness and just plain inconsolable. I think the point of the book was to figure out why and French did that but goodness what
...more
M
Feb 18, 2010 M rated it it was ok
If you read 300/600 pages, can you say you 'read' it?
THis book was SO FLIPPING LONG. Here's the thing with Marilyn French. Because of the longevity of her works, it begins to feel like the tenth season of a TV show you've been following. So you're drawn in and curious to see what happens, but you are also hit with a ton of details that really stop being interesting pretty soon. This traces mother daughter relationships with narratives that are often confusing as to who is speaking, and showing h
...more
Lee
Jan 09, 2010 Lee rated it liked it
There were several occasions where I almost gave up on this book, just put it aside and say I gave it a shot, but I stuck it out to the end, 726 pages! Every time I was ready to quit, there would be some extremely real moment between a mother and daughter or harsh truth about the nature of relationships and generations that would suck me back in. Now that I've finished it I can't say I'm sorry I did, but it if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't.

Overall, it was of a depressing nature regarding
...more
Ann
Aug 23, 2009 Ann rated it really liked it
I am reading this book now and 3/4 thru it. While it is slow to get going, I really got into the 4 generations of this family of mothers and daughters and how the narration moves back and forth between them, both talking about their lives from their perspectives and then from their daughters perspectives. It is a bit scary being a mother and thinking about how one becomes one's mother often in various ways even as one has resisted this all one's life! It is a bit too long and some of the details ...more
Jess Sweetman
Dec 25, 2014 Jess Sweetman rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary
Feb 24, 2008 Mary rated it it was amazing
I don't recall the content but I remember loving this book, and Marilyn French, when I was young. This is one I should reread.
Stephanie
Jan 07, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Her Mother's Daughter is a 1987 novel from Marilyn French, the author of the acclaimed Women's Room, a book that had a great influence on me when I was growing up, and which I recently reread.

At first, Her Mother's Daughter appears primarily to be a work of historical fiction, as it recounts the life stories and miseries of the narrator Anastasia's immediate ancestors, particularly her grandmother Frances and mother Isabella. Much of this part held the same fascination for me as A Tree Grows in
...more
Michael Kroft
Aug 15, 2016 Michael Kroft rated it liked it
An interesting story of three generations of women, but I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. For me, it wasn't a book that I had to finish once I started and when I put it down for just a day, it was difficult getting back into. The longer I let it sit, the more difficult it was to follow when I returned to it, almost making me think that I should reread up to where I had stopped, but it wasn't that interesting to have that happen. After a struggle, I'd eventually refigure out who was ...more
Ann
Nov 14, 2009 Ann rated it really liked it
Painful. Painful. Painful. I had a very hard time finishing this book; yet,I was driven to finish it. Will the cycle ever be broken? Mother's who love their children and can not express it in a way that the children recognize it, receive it and respond to it. Father's who don't express love to their children. Divored fathers who don't support their children. Husbands who see woman only as extensions of themselves. Four generations of woman are interwoven in a story that replicates itself with ea ...more
Umi
May 07, 2009 Umi rated it it was amazing
Ini dia buka Marlyin French yang super. Dia menuliskan betapa hubungan ibu dan anak perempuannya secara indah, penuh dengan cinta dan pertentangan. Dinarasikan dari seorang perempuan photografer profesional menjelang setengah baya. Karya-karya novel Marilyn French banyak yang ditulis dari pengalamannya sebagai perempuan matang...great.
Keri
Dec 07, 2008 Keri rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, but since French's other book, the Women's Room, is one of my favorites, I felt it didnt' measure up to my expectations. I'm just being picky, though. It's a good read.
K
Feb 27, 2007 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy books about mothers and daughters, and their legacies
Explores the way daughters often work to avoid their mothers' mistakes but end up making their own.
deLille
Jul 19, 2009 deLille rated it liked it
If Marilyn French sees herself reflected in the main character of this book, then she has used feminism as a justification for her self-centeredness. What a shame.
Gypsy Lady
Feb 05, 2012 Gypsy Lady rated it liked it
Marilyn French
Her Mother’s Daughter
761 Pages

Page 38
Why did she leave?

For it must have been a terrifying journey for a girl of thirteen who had never even been to Krakow ---- all the way to Bremen along; buying her passage with the money Aunt Sophie had sent her from America; traveling steerage in the immigrant ship, locked in the bottommost deck with hundreds of others, some sick, babies crying, no privacy. And then the horror of Ellis Island, being treated like some subhuman creature by self-sa
...more
Marie
mistake - A sign of bacterial infection up the arm = a RED streak, not a blue streak !!
I enjoyed the book, but some passages were repetitive (it could have done with more editing) and sometimes the story-teller or the timeline was obscure. The story was about 4 generations of women and how they frequently perpetuated parenting practices, although often aware that these actions were harsh, abusive, hurtful and damaging. Anastasia in the third generation tells most of the story and is perhaps the
...more
Dr.J.G.
Feb 05, 2016 Dr.J.G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personally this is my more favourite one - even though Women's Room is great without any doubt - for many reasons. So many of the characters are unforgettable, even apart from the protagonist, it has to be because it was written with much love and it shows.

The story spans four generations of women and their men, their children, and their lives, the travails they go through to not only survive but more to the point to keep their children alive and in good shape, good health, forgoing often much
...more
Stephanie Holcomb
Jun 15, 2015 Stephanie Holcomb rated it liked it
I got to page 300 of this 700 page book before I just couldn't stand it anymore. It jumped around too much -- following 4 women, back in time, current time, forward in time...which I normally can follow and understand why writers do it, but French couldn't decide on whether to write in third person or first -- and never the same character! On page 299, when she described Anastasia by her name (third person) and then the next paragraph was talking AS her, that was enough. Awful.

I feel like I got
...more
Mae
Feb 25, 2013 Mae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
I found this book to be frustrating and tedious at times yet I also felt I gained understanding of myself, my mother, my sister and perhaps women in general....it was written in the late 80s and that is reflected, but many observations continue to be valid. I came away thankful for the love and acceptance I was given by my mother througout my life and also grateful to some degree that I did not have female children - although that relationship can also provide some of the greatest joys - if mana ...more
Justin Caise
Dec 11, 2014 Justin Caise rated it did not like it
Long, tedious man-bashing, mother hate/love ing narcissistic trash. Sloppy writing, mixed time sequences i.e., Grant story - started screwing in '65, but after separation reunite in '64. Jumps in and out of characters' minds making it difficult to know who is telling the story when. Total feminist over-the-top self-pity from a man-hater who screws every guy she comes near when away from the hubby and kids. Chick-lit fantasy story, not worth the paper or electrons.
Lorma
Apr 26, 2012 Lorma rated it really liked it
Read this when I was young, but might reread it now that I have 2 daughters of my own. The story follows 4 generations of women in one family and shows how we often say we will not make the same mistakes our mother did only to do so. Great read.
Gerri
Apr 26, 2012 Gerri rated it it was ok
This book was a huge disappointment , it promised so much but failed to deliver. The words and actions of the characters were contrived and predicable. This book is chick lit trying to be adult but fails miserably.
Chris Lydon
Mar 17, 2011 Chris Lydon rated it it was amazing
An all time favourite.
Leslie
May 31, 2016 Leslie rated it liked it
crazy story....we do become them..................
Deidre
Oct 29, 2011 Deidre rated it it was amazing
I just visited the tenement museum in NYC and it reminded me of this book, which I read 12 years ago. It told the story of 4 generations of women in the same family. I should have given it 5 stars.
Joy
Jan 19, 2014 Joy rated it really liked it
Long and thought provoking
1momentplz
Jan 07, 2015 1momentplz rated it really liked it
One of my top 10.
Jenny
Jun 06, 2012 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. It is one I would read again.
Judy
Mar 23, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it
Good book on relationships.
Marjo Loyens
Dec 13, 2013 Marjo Loyens rated it it was amazing
Shelves: related-books
This book changed my life.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Hearts and Lives of Men
  • Inventing Memory
  • Proust at the Majestic
  • Sister Age
  • The Dark-Eyed Girls
  • Braided Lives
  • Shadow Play (Helen West, #4)
  • What Lips My Lips Have Kissed: The Loves and Love Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Den lukkede bog
  • Someone Not Really Her Mother: A Novel
  • The American Wife
  • Shadow Song
  • Swann
  • The Parson's Daughter
  • Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation
  • Secrets Never Told
  • Such Devoted Sisters
  • Diary of a Mad Housewife
14160
She attended Hofstra University (then Hofstra College) where she also received a master's degree in English in 1964. She married Robert M. French Jr. in 1950; the couple divorced in 1967. She later attended Harvard University, earning a Ph.D in 1972. Years later she became an instructor at Hofstra University.

In her work, French asserted that women's oppression is an intrinsic part of the male-domi
...more
More about Marilyn French...

Share This Book



“It's strange how men feel they have the right to criticize a woman's appearance to her face.” 25 likes
“Desire consumes you, it takes you over. You forget yourself completely. All you can think about is the other, the one you desire, your self is just a fire.” 25 likes
More quotes…