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Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race, and Themselves
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Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race, and Themselves

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  255 ratings  ·  32 reviews
The challenges facing mothers in the twenty-first century go well beyond tantrum control and potty training. Camille Peri and Kate Moses, the founding editors of's "Mothers Who Think" column and the subsequent anthology of the same name, have once again compiled a selection of intimate and fiercely honest essays on the profound issues that affect women and their ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published April 12th 2005)
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Start your review of Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race, and Themselves
Jul 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: if you like essays about mothers, daughters, friends and wives
I don't usually read a lot of essay books but I really enjoyed this one. (well worth the one dollar I paid for it) If you ever read it I have madea list of the essays that I thought are worth reading and the ones that are a MUST READ. ask me for it! There were some interesting things about life and loss and mother/teenager relationships and about surrogacy, and some definatly well written ones about race and diversity. I will for sure pick this one up to read again. I think I enjoyed it most ...more
Elaine Fultz
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this for the Ayelet Waldman essay which is staggering and wise.
Dec 20, 2010 rated it liked it
a collection of essays on being a mother. this is in fact the second anthology generated by's defunct "mothers who think" column. can't pretend that i am crazy about the "mothers who think" moniker. doesn't that imply that there are also mothers (presumably, not readers) that don't think? while that may be true, it seems unnecessarily judgmental & dichotic, as do more than a few of these essays. i don't think the contributors necessarily intend to come across as smug ...more
Frank Jude
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I savored this book! Edited by Camille Peri and Kate Moses, the founding editors of's "Mothers Who Think" column (and the anthology of the same name) put together this anthology of 33 essays written by a diverse group of brave women about the challenges, joys and pains of motherhood. I say brave because they are -- for the most part -- unflinching in their honesty and naked revelations.

This isn't to say this is a "heavy" read! There are some essays that made me laugh my ass off! And
Oraynab Jwayyed
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book much more than I anticipated, mainly because personal essay-based books are all I've been reading lately. What I enjoyed about this one was my ability and desire to relate to many of the writers. Whereas in the past I would have started in on my self-righteous moral compass on those essays that discussed infidelity or abandoning children, I found myself understanding the arguments made by the women who were vilified for those decisions.

Not that I sympathized with those
Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
I am really enjoying this book and recommend it to all mothers (parents) honest accounts of the joys and frustration of parenting - my daughter is 24 but it is still relevant - is bringing back memories - making me laugh and at times giving me a little PTSD - I think that so often we (women) are afraid to admit that we are challenged by our children - that we feel we have to say the kids are great and we love every minute of it - for me this was not true - I love and adore my daughter - but at ...more
Susie Chocolate
The founding mothers of's "Mothers who think" column and the subsequent anthology of the same name have gathered and edited essays on Motherhood from differing perspectives which makes for an enjoyable and diverse read. I enjoyed this book because I really like the short story form and this book is essentially 33 short stories. 33 different women have written essays on motherhood, all from very different view points and walks of life.

You read of the African American Mother who moves
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would like to have a massive dinner party with all of these women. I would like to sit and have coffee and tea with some of them, have some of them on speed-dial so I can reach them, and others, I would simply like in my "village". Some of their honesty made me mad, but as a mother, I respect other mother's views and emotions. We all do not feel the same way about things or when dealing with similar situations. That is a major life lesson! Some of the writings had to be scary to write and ...more
Jan 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Honestly, I haven't finished this book yet and I probably won't for a while. What I have read has generally been very entertaining. There are some wonderful essays, a couple of which I can identify with. There are, however, MANY esssays about divorced families and I can not relate to those at all. The one essay that touched me most was Mariane Pearl's "On Giving Hope". Silly me didn't realize this was Daniel Pearl's wife right away, but halfway through, it clicked and reading her story of how ...more
Sally Ewan
Dec 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I had a hard time putting this book down. I think I was captivated because it was very honest, from-the-heart words. Even though the women came from all different walks of life (sorry for the cliche!), there was a common thread as they considered their roles as women and wives and mothers. I came away grateful for my sweet husband and for the gift of these three children, who I am trying desperately to raise well. The last story, written by a 40-year-old woman who had lost a pregnancy and was ...more
Nov 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Supremely excellent collection. I enjoyed most all of these slices of life from intelligent, interesting mothers. I particularly enjoyed the story of Denise Minor, "There's No Being Sad Here" which is a piercingly accurate story of growing up alongside an autistic son, as well as the wry "Material Girls" from Margaret Talbot, a commentary on the American Girls craze. "Harry Potter and Divorce Among the Muggles" "Why I Can Never Go Back to the French Laundry" (where I am clearly destined to eat, ...more
Oct 15, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: mothers or non-mothers who are glad to be child-free!
For some reason I am always drawn to these essay collection books - about all subjects. I think they are going to be so interesting and great and they are usually OK. Because I Said So is a collection of essays by women about being mothers. Even though I don't have kids and don't really plan on having kids, I am still fascinated by these kind of stories. I think if you are a mother you would probably enjoy this because you could relate to the authors, but non-mothers can enjoy it too. Sometimes ...more
Jul 22, 2009 rated it liked it
I listened to an interview with Ayelet Waldman (who wrote an essay in this book) on the May 5, 2009 NPR Fresh Air podcast. It was a captivating interview (can I say that--do I sound like a podcast critic?).

OK, Waldman's interview was way more interesting than her essay. My favorites were: Two Heads Are Better Than Three (Mary Roach), Harry Potter and Divorce Among the Muggles (Constance Matthiessen) and No Blame (Rosellen Brown).
Alejandra Bernal
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
My favorite essays, in no particular order, were The Scarlet Letter Z, On Giving Hope, There's No Being Sad Here, Motherlove, Chaos Theory, and Why I Left My Children.
Nevertheless, those were simply my favorite, but the other essays had their own fair share of smiles. Definetly recommend this book, as it is a collection of stories from completely different backgrounds and women, yet it shows that motherly love is pretty much universal, and bonds the world in ways one would never imagine.
Aug 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Short stories - though I'm not usually a fan of short stories (I feel like by the time I get interested/ ends). First story about a Pakistani girl who is unmarried and has a of her mosque put her on trial for not conforming to many muslin dictates. Second story is about the struggles of a blended family...and the third about the history and phenomenon of The American Girl dolls (very interesting). Some of the stories are very good/well written and others not so much.
Jul 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
I initially picked this book up to read my friend Connie's essay "Divorce Among the Muggles." But then I kept reading, and found many delightful ponderings on modern motherhood. I didn't find all of them completely plausible (Ayelet Waldman I think was being deliberately provocative) but I read them all. I especially enjoyed the essay from those authors whose life experiences differed from my own.
Colleen Herman
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Anyone who is a mother (or parent) will enjoy this collection of short stories. I enjoyed the short story aspect because it is summer, but it was wonderful to hear about so many different types of relationships that women have with their children. It seemed after reading this book I was bringing it up in conversations many times.
Sep 20, 2013 rated it liked it
This one is a bit hard to rate since it is a compilation of 33 authors in one book. Overall, I would say the authors are very good. I enjoyed some stories more than others, related more to some over others, etc. I was easy to pick up and read a story or two at a time. I like reading other perspectives, so it was good as far as that goes too.
Aisha Hanif
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed these essays on current motherhood. It took me about 5 months to read this, as I would read a few essays, then read another book, but one of the few essay compilations that I read in the given order. Particularly resonant with me was the essay "Boys! Give me Boys!" as I am currently the parent of two young boys, and many of my peers are parents only to sons.
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really like reading essays by mothers describing some part of their lives, especially when they're living lives so remote from mine. That's part of why I like "Brain, Child" magazine so much. Reading these essays, I got to think a lot of things I'd never have thought on my own.
Kristi Anderson
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Don't let the title or the cover dissuade you, this book was a surprisingly moving and poignant account of motherhood and womanhood by 33 different authors, some very well known, others not so much. Every essay had something meaningful and thought provoking to offer. I really enjoyed it.
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great collection of essays. Some are quite poetic in style, others prosaic but all have Motherhood and its issues and rewards as a partial theme. I quite enjoyed them all even when I couldn't relate to all of their stories.
Astrodon Johnstoni
Nov 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Smart moms
This is the brainiest book of mom essays I ever read.
May 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mama-reading
Absolute sanctuary is what any mother will find herein, as well as inspiration, encouragement, and a lot of laughs.
Frank Corriveau
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
I thought I would be reading a light-hearted comedy about Mothers and up-bringing of their children. It was a pleasant surprise with some interesting real life experiences. Enjoyed the read.
Jul 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a bookclub choice.

I was expecting something funny or enlightening, but it was just mini-memoirs. It didn't do much for me.
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cantfinish
I got about halfway through. It was...depressing.
Nov 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Compelling essay, but definitely not a quick read.
Feb 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
A diverse collection of maternal perspective, in easy-to-divvy essays. This was great bedtime reading.
Sep 01, 2014 added it
Devoured this book after Joe was born.
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