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For You Mom, Finally

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  934 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
Bestselling author Ruth Reichl examines her mother's life-and gives voice to the unarticulated truths of a generation of exceptional women

A former New York Times restaurant critic, editor in chief of Gourmet, and the author of three bestselling memoirs, Ruth Reichl is a beloved cultural figure in the food world and beyond. For You, Mom. Finally. is her openhearted inve
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Penguin Books (first published 2010)
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Jun 17, 2011 Judy rated it liked it
Ruth Reichl only begins to understand the true story of her mother's life years after her death when she opens a box filled with her mother's "diaries" and letters that had been stored in a basement. While her first book, Tender at the Bone, contained some funny and not so funny stories about her mother, who apparently was manic-depressive, in this book, Reichl comes to understand the origins of much of her mother's anxiety and depression. Reichl points out the universal truth that children see ...more
Mar 30, 2011 Jeslyn rated it really liked it
I was starting to think I would max out at two stars for this read, but by the time I got to the last page of the Afterword, I loved this book. However, the Afterword is KEY - Reichl originally published this without it. Throughout the chapters I felt the main messages of: Having a Career Outside the Home Is the Solution to the Struggles of Homemakers and Mothers in the Home; and Career Work Is What We Are Here to Do, were troubling - that somehow being a wife and mother is a soul-sapping propos ...more
Jan 02, 2017 Michele rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
Maybe this will be my year of reading books about mothers. I haven't seen many mother-daughter relationships that weren't fraught with unspoken desires, misplaced expectations, and misunderstandings. I think of this often when I look at my own daughter and I wonder how much of the more recent generations of mothers and their relationships with their daughters were colored by society's rules, propriety, accepted roles for women, and the like. While this book focused on Reichl's mom, she touches o ...more
Aug 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very slender volume examining changing roles of women with some flinch worthy considerations of our incomplete understanding of our parents, the judgements we make about them from our personal time and space in history. I've given a lot of thought and even some study to how our parents lives, their choices and experiences inform our own and found myself wondering what unspoken and even unconsidered agendas we thrust upon our children. We have things we know we want our kids to learn from us, thi ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Shannan rated it really liked it
I had/am having a slightly difficult time processing this book. Luckily it is short, very short - like you could read it in two hours short.
Here's my thought process as I finish this book. It brings up the age old feminist tale of "don't make me stay in the kitchen, I want a career dammit!" Problem is, what about those woman, much like myself, who chose a career 'in the kitchen' so to speak. This story that Ruth Reichl and her mother tell us is one that insists you are far more than your looks,
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it liked it
This book starts with a bang as Ruth's mother concocts a most disgusting snack of moldy chocolate pudding, old, hard marshmallows and canned peaches for Ruth's Girl Scout troop. I settled in for more.

Ruth's mother, Miriam, was told in clear print in a letter written to her by her father that although she was smart, she was homely and the odds of catching a husband were going to be slim but that should be her goal in life. With that encouragement, Miriam marries and two years later is divorced.

Jun 24, 2010 Patricia rated it really liked it
Short, even slight book about an accomplished woman who learns about the dimensions of her mother's life -- after her mother is dead, of course.

It seems probable that Miriam had something on the bipolar spectrum, although this isn't clear. What is clear is that she embarrassed her children and caused them other pains to the point that they each basically seemed to have limited their contact with her in order to protect themselves.

What changes Reichl's view of her mother is a box of letters and
Dec 28, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This book randomly showed up in my mailbox. I didn't do a chain letter or anything! Ashley told me maybe it was because I was meant to read it, so I gave it a try. It was a very thought-provoking read. Ruth Reichl writes a memoir of her mother and how she finally came to understand her. She feels that her mother was unhappy for most of her life because she did not have a career. I agree with her in one sense - meaningful work is important to make one feel useful and happy. I disagree with her in ...more
Dec 29, 2016 Lena rated it liked it
I loved the first couple of books I read by Ruth Reichl - particularly Tender at the Bone. That one I found funny, fascinating and could not put down. However, For You Mom, Finally - it was good, it was interesting - but you sort had to have read other books by this author to really enjoy and then finish it, even if it was short. However - I will definitely read any and all books by Ruth Reichl in the future.
Angela Usas
Feb 22, 2014 Angela Usas rated it really liked it
I am going through a change in my relationship with my mother. I have been doing Stress Release Sessions (they are AMAZING!!) and my mom comes up as a regular stressor in my life. In one of my sessions, Tina, the de-stressor, said that I might start to feel differently about my mom if I understood her childhood; where she comes from. Since then I've been more curious, more reflective and more open to learning.
This book gave me lots to think about. I liked the discussion questions at the end and
Aug 17, 2010 Kelsey rated it it was ok
A quick read that I didn't hate or like. It was just okay. There were two ways to really take this book. The first is as a story about a woman finally discovering her mother. I get why this would appeal to many people, but it didn't speak to me. I've always had a good relationship with my mother and I feel like I've come to know her bit by bit as I've matured. The second way is (as a reviewer on the back of the book put it) as "a feminist manifesto" which I hated. Okay, so I guess there is a thi ...more
agnes barton-sabo
Oct 22, 2014 agnes barton-sabo rated it it was ok
I'm a Ruth Reichl fan for the most part but this did nothing for me! I did not see the point of it being a book... An essay for later collection perhaps. I don't agree that it was an "openhearted investigation," there was not much investigating done. It was a quick show & tell of some letters and a few brief memories, not much was taken to higher, thoughtful levels, and I didn't find it revealed much of anything we didn't already hear of her mother from her other books. The points it SUPPOSE ...more
Aug 17, 2010 Patrice rated it really liked it
I love Ruth Reichl and everything she writes. This is a very personal look at her mother and I think any daughter will be able to relate on some level. She makes some strong points about how to live a happy life, derived from her mother's very unhappy life.
However, I think she's a little too politically correct in her views. I don't agree with her conclusions that the answer lies in having a demanding career and having others raise your children. Sometimes being a grown-up means thinking of othe
Geisha Cielos (loquaciousreaders)
Beautifully written book about a daughter (Ruth) telling her mom's story, and I feel like everyone who reads this book will get a different message or different messages. But one huge message that I learned from Mim is that one should always do what makes one happy, and please oneself, and love oneself before you do anyone else. Because in the end only you can make YOU happy. Whatever your choices are they should be YOUR choices. And I just loved that message. I feel like if you want to pick up ...more
May 15, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really liked examining what Reichl set out to examine in this book- the changing roles of women between her mother's generation and her own. What I didn't like was how short the book was. With an introduction explaining how important it was to her to write a book examining her mother's life, and an afterward talking about the same thing, you would have thought she'd have found more to write about than this skinny book. But it was a conversation-starter for me to think about and discuss the opp ...more
Kathy Halsan
May 30, 2010 Kathy Halsan rated it it was amazing
Reichl has written several books and they are quite good. Her Mother is frequently in the books as a kind of quirky mother/housewife of the 50s. I saw it my mother as did many of you of my age. Our mothers had no choice, but to be housewives and they were bred to tears. Thank goodness for the "Women's Movement" which now allows a choice for women. The story of Ruth'd mother is definitely worth a read.
Jul 25, 2010 Antonia rated it it was amazing
Immensely thought provoking. It shows how you dont need pages and pages of text to evoke the most complex of emotions and personal relationships. One to repeat reading again and again from time to time.
Jul 26, 2015 Fiona rated it liked it
A short read, makes me appreciate moms and what they try to do for their kids and I am glad I am of the generation I am.
Jan 29, 2017 Lisa rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography-memoir
I have really enjoyed Ruth Reichl's other memoirs and her novel, but this brief (68-page) book about her mother was not as enjoyable. Although her mother was quite a character, Reichl seems to be apologizing too much about her mother or her own feelings for her mother. A more straightforward telling would have worked better--but the mother-daughter relationship is complex and can be difficult to write about. This is a retitled edition of an earlier book--something about how Reichl is glad she di ...more
Kilian Metcalf
Feb 25, 2017 Kilian Metcalf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-non-fiction
I picked up this book for $1.99 because I had read and enjoyed her books about food a restaurants. I was unaware of the tension between her and her mother. This touching memoir, written after her mother's death, tells of finding a box of letters and notes her mother kept over the years.

A very different person from the one Ruth thought she was emerges from this treasure trove. A woman forced into the life of wife and mother, she struggled to maintain her sense of self. She knew she wasn't the per
Nov 21, 2016 Marilyn rated it really liked it
This book stops at about the length where most books would have just been getting a healthy start. That being said, I found myself highlighting and underlining key concepts and insights frequently. I wanted to sit by this mother in a playground while our kids played in the sandbox. Her voice is sagely, but that may have not felt like wisdom to her daughter at the time. This book is all about perspective and point of view. Not exactly clear issues where women are concerned.
Lorraine Sulick-Morecraft
Mar 03, 2017 Lorraine Sulick-Morecraft rated it really liked it
Had she lived, my Mom would have been 90 today when I finished Ruth's book. My mother was nothing at all like hers, yet reading her struggles reaffirmed how blessed I was to be raised by a woman who miraculously managed it all...a family, a career and supported me 100%. My only regret is that we did not share letters but thankfully I have a box of recipes written by her and for that I am grateful.
Ellen Curran
Feb 03, 2017 Ellen Curran rated it it was amazing
This is a quick read, but one that will stay with me. It's part love letter, part apology, and big thank you to the author's mother. It made me sad to know that I can't know my mom as well as she knew hers, if only after her mom passed away. Highly recommended. Bring tissues.
Anne Libera
Feb 19, 2017 Anne Libera rated it really liked it
This is more of a long article than a full memoir but still a fascinating contemplation of her mother's complex life and personality.
Jan 12, 2017 Kathleen rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
Very thought provoking.
Feb 04, 2017 Klyon rated it really liked it
Quick, rewarding read
Oct 15, 2016 Marilyn rated it really liked it
This is a little gem of a book about Reichl's reflections upon her mother's life. It is a testament to the changing role of women and the yearning inside for a person to fulfill whatever journey that allows her to be truly authentic and congruent. I couldn't help but ponder my own mother's life as she lived in the same era as Reichl's mom with some of the same cultural xpectations. That led me to think about all those early women who broke the barriers of expectation and education in a variety o ...more
Dec 30, 2016 Chel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a member of Ruth Reichl's generation--a generation of women who have had many more options than our mothers' generation--I found myself relating closely to this short exploration of her mother's life and Ruth's memoir about their relationship. My mother was not at all like Miriam Reichl, and our relationship was quite different, yet the story resonates. Our mothers were raised with a different set of expectations than we were, and our generation was raised by women caught in the ambivalence a ...more
Jul 03, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Reichl is a few years older than I am and therefore we (and our mothers) are of the same generation of "women's liberation" such as it was/is. Reading this book was painful; I can only imagine what it was to write it. Very few women of our age will not see something in this book that touches a nerve. Oddly (ironically?), my mother did reject home and hearth and went back to school and found a long and fulfilling career as a librarian and ultimately a library director and yet she was equally ...more
I could have really loved this book, but I didn't. The premise--unearthing through letters, journals, and other clues written down, the person our mother was when we were busy paying attention pretty much just to the person we were or were becoming--is a great theme for a book. Most want to understand our parents better, to have known who they were and what they were like in a different time than we knew them. To have known what they were like when they were the same age that we were at that mom ...more
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Ruth Reichl is an American food writer, the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and culinary editor for the Modern Library.
Born to parents Ernst and Miriam (née Brudno), she was raised in New York City and spent time at a boarding school in Montreal. She attended the University of Michigan, where she met her first husband, the artist Douglas Hollis. She graduated in 1970 with a M.A. in art history
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“Go ahead into life, full-blooded, courageous and leap for the adventure. But you must do it soon—before the summer of your youth has cooled off into caution. You are magnificently charming—and you come like a torrent. But you will be spent on the futility of little things. You are not a watercolor. You are carved out of life—and there can be no petty hesitancies about you.” 7 likes
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