Cindy's Reviews > Not Becoming My Mother: and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way

Not Becoming My Mother by Ruth Reichl
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Apr 25, 09

bookshelves: memoirs, mother-and-daughter-relationship
Read in April, 2009

** spoiler alert ** Just the title alone made me want to read this book.. And I'm glad that I did. Reichl finds some letters and notes in a box in a basement from her mother. Through these, she finds out why her mother was the way she was, and why her mother always encouraged her to not be like her. She didn't want her daughter to be unhappy like she was, she wanted her to be an independent person - free to do as she pleased, free from the traditional roles that society and parents expect you to be. Reichl's mother, Miriam, followed that role because it was expected of her not only by society but forced down her throat by her mother. Miriam grew up during the time when if a woman didn't marry, then people would call her a spinster. Miriam actually had a career and her own bookshop but was forced to give that up because circumstances called for it.. which caused her to be very unhappy. She was unhappy for a big part of her life and Reichl as a child noticed this.

By reading her mother's letters, Reichl is able to understand why her mother did the things that she did. I found the ending to be bittersweet because Miriam finally became who she really was, but not until she was a widow and white haired. I guess it's good in a way because some people never have the chance of finding out who they are, at all, but at least Miriam did, even if it was toward the end of her life..
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Dianna (new) - added it

Dianna How interesting! I really enjoy Ruth Reichl's writing, normally culinary narratives.


message 2: by Rachel (new)

Rachel This author is on NPR right now.



message 3: by Cindy (last edited May 07, 2009 07:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cindy Oh I will look for that recording..Thanks!


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