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Old World Daughter, New World Mother: An Education in Love and Freedom

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3.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  21 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
A warm, smart, and witty personal investigation of ethnicity and womanhood.

In the second-generation immigrant home where Maria Laurino grew up, “independent” was a dirty word and “sacrifice” was the ideal and reality of motherhood. But out in the world, Mary Tyler Moore was throwing her hat in the air, personifying the excitement and opportunities of the freedom loving Am
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 13th 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published March 7th 2009)
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Morninglight Mama
Jan 26, 2016 Morninglight Mama rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
I have to say that this was not exactly what I expected from the little that I had read about it before beginning the book. I guess I expected a simple examination of the Italian, 'old world' culture versus the larger 'American' culture that the author grew up in. This was definitely tackled, but I was pleasantly surprised by the connections drawn between this train of thought and the history of feminism in America, along with the exploration of the interdependency that is inevitable in life. Ev ...more
Natalia
Jun 27, 2009 Natalia rated it it was amazing
Taking us from her childhood to the present, Maria Laurino explores what it’s like to be an Italian American woman through the lens of identity, feminism, ethnicity, motherhood, pregnancy, and economics in Old World Daughter, New World Mother. Laurino unveils the restrictions she faced as a feminist daughter, as well as all that a traditionally Italian upbringing entails. We learn of her severely over-protective mother who gets up at dawn to make the day’s meals, how this mamma’s actions and att ...more
Gaby
Sep 11, 2009 Gaby rated it liked it
Shelves: bostick, nonfiction
Maria Laurino's book is part memoirs and part analysis of feminism in practice.

The book begins with stories of her Italian American grandparents and the lives that they built for themselves in New Jersey. Sharing anecdotes from her mother's childhood of how her maternal grandfather who came to the US at the turn of the century and created his own construction company. Growing their own vegetables and flowers, making their own wine in the basement of their home, maintaining many of their traditi
...more
Lesley
Feb 18, 2013 Lesley rated it it was amazing
This memoir was so unexpected... I was initially captured by the title as I am an Old World Daughter and New World Mother of Italian-American stock. Early on in life, this mix has been a source of enormous confusion, frustration, embarrassment and finally understanding, reconciliation, and acceptance. With my sixtieth birthday around the corner, I have graduated from New World Mother and am on he cusp of yet another stage, New Old World Mother (which suggests I might be morphing into a likeness ...more
Laura de Leon
Jun 05, 2009 Laura de Leon rated it really liked it
My biggest problem with this book is that it wasn't what I expected it to be. I'm not sure it is fair to hold that against it.

On the other hand, I had a hard time figuring out what the book WAS supposed to be. I liked most of the parts. It was combining them into a whole that didn't always work for me.

I really, really want to give this book 3.5 stars.

I was expecting a homey, somewhat funny memoir-- stories of the author's life, with some reflections on deeper meaning.

What I read was a series of
...more
Roselle
Mar 06, 2016 Roselle rated it liked it
Not exactly what I expected. Less of a comparison between the old world and new world and more of a criticism of current public policy on women's rights.
Christina
Jun 17, 2009 Christina rated it it was ok
Shelves: bostick
When I saw this book I expected stories of big italiam families told about big italian family dinners. There was a little of this in Old World Daughter, New World Mother but not much. The book discusses family, gender issues, disability, child bearing and rearing. Basically, though, this is a book about feminism. It is the story of a woman trying to balance traditional women roles with the more modern role of powerful, working women. A little dry at times, the story could have used more stories ...more
Luci
Jul 15, 2010 Luci rated it liked it
This was a somewhat split book. I think that the Enlightenment and feminist thought was very good but I didn't get enough of the Old World realities that are inherent in growing up as a hyphenated American. It was an interesting book and worth passing along to your mother friends.
Rosemary
May 10, 2011 Rosemary rated it liked it
Feminism was the major topic of this book. I was hoping it would focus on being a first generation Italian American. It was interesting but a bit different from what I expected. Well written.
Heather Maguire
Jun 27, 2009 Heather Maguire is currently reading it
loving it so far.
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Maria Laurino is the author of Old World Daughter, New World Mother: An Education in Love and Freedom (W.W. Norton, 2009) and Were You Always an Italian?, a national best-selling memoir about ethnic identity. A former chief speechwriter to NYC Mayor David Dinkins and a staff writer for the Village Voice, Laurino’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation, Salon.com, and ...more
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