My Mother's House & Sido
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My Mother's House & Sido

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4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  470 ratings  ·  31 reviews
In My Mother's House and Sido, Colette plays fictional variations on the themes of childhood, family, and, above all, her mother. Vividly alive, fond of cities, music, theater, and books, Sido devoted herself to her village, Saint-Saveur; to her garden, with its inhabitants and its animals; and, especially, to her children, particularly her youngest, whom she called Minet-...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published June 20th 2002 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1953)
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Two novellas written seven years apart. Both composed of short chapters/vignettes where Colette--in her 60's or 70's--writes about her mother Sido, her father (her mother's second husband, the ex-soldier with one of his legs amputated), her mother's first husband and her three siblings, all of them dead already except one brother.

Every family has its own story and I am sure that given the same talent for writing as that of Colette each of these stories can be as interesting as these novellas. Bu...more
Beth
“Any writer whose existence is long drawn out turns in the end towards his past, either to revile it or rejoice in it.” This is Colette’s comment in the preface to this beautiful book, which is her own thoughtful gaze into the past. Reading it felt somewhat like flipping through a verbal photo-album: a series of images, each describing a separate moment of her past. Ordinary moments of joy, surprise, humor, confusion, but which together make up the fabric of her childhood.

The structure of the t...more
Elisabeth Watson
An excellent edition, and very nice to have the two memoirs in the same volume. The magic of Colette's evocation of motherhood--and of her mother--is that she builds it by also evoking what it is like to be someone's child, someone's sibling. As much as Sido is the undisputed chief of this family pantheon, no one and no EXPERIENCE (even a pet's) is granted anything less than reverence.

It was in this book that I started "understanding" one of the mechanisms by which Colette is able to render a t...more
ifjuly
so this is her masterpiece apparently, and it was one of the last things i got around to reading by her. it makes sense it is--the best thing about colette is her vivid description of sensory experience and little daily luxuries, and such descriptions abound here and are very strong, even for her. also makes me understand why proust admired her--the best things he does with the sensual aspects of memory she does here. a truly pleasurable read.
Carol
This is one of my all time favorite books. I rarely re-read a book, but I have read this book many times. This is writing that Colette did for herself, unlike Cheri and other books that she wrote at her husband's request. This is a personal memior as seen through her eyes as a child. Magical stuff!
Wayne
This would have to be one of my very favourite Colette books.
Sido was Colette's very earthed, very wise,very "french" Maman.Its some years since I read it which is why I have put it in my re-reads. But to savour their rustic village life again is like renewing an old acquaintance.
Beth
Even if you only read a vignette or two from this book, it's worthwhile. Colette's recollections of her childhood, and her parents in particular, is amazingly rich, both in style and emotional substance.
Elise
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir, especially Colette's lush and sensual descriptions of the rural village in 19th century France where she grew up under the care of her unconventional and fascinating mother (Sido) and her father, the Captain, who was passionately in love with Sido (his nickname for his wife Sidonie). When I picked this book up, I was already reading another novel, but I figured I could read both at one time since "My Mother's House" reads like a collection of vignettes that woul...more
Rachel Smalter Hall
Some books, like The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death and Pippi in the South Seas, appeal to my childlike love of mischief and weirdos. My Mother's House & Sido took me to a different place from my childhood, completely dreamy, sensual and romantic. I loved Colette's love for the provinces, with their basket-fulls of suckling kittens, hyacinths and foxgloves, and melted chocolate for breakfast. I loved her strange siblings who read books in trees and made up epitaphs for fun. And then...more
Florence Penrice
Several years ago I visited St Sauveur en Puisaye, Colette's childhood home, on the strength of reading this. From reading Judith Thurman's excellent biography, Colette seems have been a flawed person in many respects (like all of us) and, to a certain extent 'Colette' was a fiction that she created that may not have always been true to reality, but I always read her autobiographical work with the sense of resuming a conversation with a old, wise, friend.
Amy
I loved this book! It's a collection of memories, musings, and descriptions of the author's childhood home in a small French village. The writing was lovely and made the far off time and place of someone else's life seem immediate and tangible in the way only the best writing does. I have never read anything by Colette before, but I will definitely be seeking out some more of her books. I only wish this one had been longer!
Brigid
Somehow, perhaps because of her extravagant history, I didn't expect Colette to be such a very, very good writer. These little vignettes about her childhood in the country are delightful because her love for her mother, her animals, the nature surrounding her, is so strong and real and so scrupulously and passionately observed. This is the kind of writing that connects you to life rather than providing an escape from it.
Dana Susan
Loved this beautiful memoir told thru child's eye, wonderful evocation of provincial French life, and the enviable love between her parents, told with an economy of words. Strange to realize that Colette's scandalous adult life including her distant relationship with her own daughter was so different from the life she knew in her mother's house.
Carol
Oh, I loved reading about Colette's mother. The richness of her life and her love for her daughter.
It's been decades since I read it, but it was wonderful. Was some of it fictional, pehaps. I can't recall. But what a delicious book.
Rachel
Dec 26, 2012 Rachel marked it as to-read
Reading this one in the bathroom...when I'm not reading something for school...have been reading for the last few months, I think its going to take me a few more to finish. Each story in the book is like a little gem, so its nice to take it slow.
Jasmine
My first real encounter with Colette, and it was absolutely beautiful. This brought back memories of growing up in the countryside, of finding excitement and curiosity in the smallest details. Something to savour.
Mel
This book is a reminder of the beauty of a life well-lived and nurtured by nature. This is a deceptively simple collection of Colette's musings about her mother and the rest of her family in their country estate.
Tracymarksseglin
Had never read Colette before. Some lovely, simple, timeless mother-daughter stories hidden in lots and lots of imagery and adjectives. Grew tired of trying to find them, and didn't finish the whole book. :)
Arwen
I read this or Earthly Paradise every fall. Somehow it seems like the right time to fall into Colette's meditations on childhood and family and tramping through gardens and over fences into fields.
Iris
beautiful memoir of the author's childhood in burgundy, france -- all the sights and smells and naturalness of animals and fully-alive persons. must read for the francophile.

Susan Greve
the genius of child--pre-socialization bliss. this collection makes my yearn to find the beauty in a ball of string and/or a hollowed nut. my citified feet are ruined.
Maureen M
I read this just before visiting Colette's childhood region of Burgundy. I loved My Mother's House bu found Sido too much of an interior monologue.
Arabella Thorne
Her descriptions even in translation are exquisite. The writing is so good I would just stop and savor a scene because I could see it so clearly!
Ma'lis Wendt
Colette's remembrances of her mother and the rest of her family --especially the stories of her childhood were very touching and vivid.
Catherine
Such a beauty! I'll probably read this book once a year now when I need some life in me.
Jill
Swift, evocative. Collette casts a wistful eye upon her charmed childhood.
Obisbooks
Beautiful, lush writing, little vignettes of her childhood.
Marie-Chantale Turgeon
lecture de l'édition française en cours, j'adore...
Whit
A beuatiful book
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500 Great Books B...: My Mother's House - Colette 1 1 Jul 25, 2014 02:03PM  
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  • Carmen and Other Stories
  • Paris Was a Woman: Portraits from the Left Bank
  • Emily L.
  • Simple Passion
  • The Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1914-1920
  • Anti-Memoirs
  • Kiki's Paris: Artists and Lovers 1900-1930
  • Monsieur Proust
  • The Mirador: Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky by Her Daughter
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Colette was the pen name of the French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known, at least in the English-speaking world, for her novel Gigi, which provided the plot for a Lerner & Loewe musical film and stage musical.
More about Colette...
Cheri & The Last of Cheri The Vagabond The Complete Claudine The Collected Stories Gigi & The Cat

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“It is the image in the mind that links us to our lost treasures; but it is the loss that shapes the image, gathers the flowers, weaves the garland.” 9 likes
“A few days later, I found my mother beneath the tree, motionless with excitement, her head turned toward the heavens in which she would allow human religions no place.” 8 likes
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