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The M Word: Conversations about Motherhood

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  19 reviews
A Dropped Threads-style anthology, assembling original and inspiring works by some of Canada's best younger female writers -- such as Heather Birrell, Saleema Nawaz, Susan Olding, Diana Fitzgerald Bryden, Carrie Snyder, and Alison Pick -- The M Word asks everyday women and writers, some of whom are on the unconventional side of motherhood, to share their emotions and tales ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Goose Lane Editions
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Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
The essays in this book are wonderful. Some made me laugh, and some moved me to tears. It's not entirely fair to judge a book by what it's not, so I won't dwell on it, but I would have loved at least one essay about becoming a mother to a child with a disability. And I'd love to see another volume deal with mothering as action as opposed to motherhood as a state of being. I didn't really find myself in these essays, but what is here is lovely.
Michael Bryson
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Michael by:
Shelves: memoir

I'm enjoying reading this book. I enjoy the diversity of the stories, the variations of circumstance.

I wonder why, though, in 2014 we can't have a book about parenting. The P Word. How many generations until these marketing categories get broken down?

But it's not just that, I know. The entire parent council of the school across the street from my house is made up of women. Women are the do-ers, overwhelmingly. They make the household spending decisions, ov
Ann Douglas
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The M Word offers an intelligent conversation about motherhood, providing a variety of perspectives on what it means to become a mother (or not). The book is honest and inclusive. Every woman will find her experience reflected somewhere in these stories.

[ reviewed from galleys ]
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I need to buy more copies of this wonderful anthology because I keep giving it away to friends who I think will find comfort in it. Penned by 25 very fine Canadian authors (thoughtfully curated by Kerry Clare) these are honest, brave, penetrating stories representing a wide spectrum of experience.
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is everything I wanted in an essay collection about motherhood. Not perfect, but I love the kind of random approach of listing the essays alphabetically rather than sorting into themes because parenting IS pretty random. Several of these essays made me cry with recognition of something really honest that gets lost in these conversations... the ambivalence... we're all good mothers and we're all bad mothers. I'm the same person I was before becoming a mother, and I'm a totally different pers ...more
Jul 10, 2015 rated it liked it
The most subversive collection of essays on motherhood I have read. Overall, the collection of experiences gathered by editor Kerry Clare covers an impressive range of experiences and reactions to motherhood--including infertility, loss, nannying, teenagers, indecisiveness and disinterest (by which I mean electing to be childless). It is challenging reading.

However, some essays are better written than others, and I would have preferred if the stories had been organized in some other way rather t
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Excellent collection of essays about motherhood, infertility, ambivalence and not having children etc. For some reason, I found myself really affected by the essays about becoming a stepmother, which is weird because I have no connection to it in my life. (I think I was thinking about a friend who became a stepmother last year)

This is a really beautiful and thoughtful book. I read it in one sitting.
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
Thoughtful and diverse collection of essays that all women can relate to.
Each essay is unique and represents a different take on being a mother - or not being a mother as the case may be.
While there are other books that share stories of motherhood, most of them seem to be geared towards first-time moms and have a predominately light and almost superficial treatment of motherhood. The essays in this book are more thoughtful, sometimes dark, intensely personal and very touching.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
This was hit and miss. Probably about 3 or 4 were really good, and a handful were a real slog.
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful anthology, with so much to unpack here. It truly covers the range of what it means to be a mother, from those who choose to have children freely, to those who make the choice not to be a mother at all, and everything in between. There is so much valuable wisdom here, and I think I will come back to it time and time again. The essay by Kerry Clare (the editor) on the her experience of motherhood seen from the other side of a previous abortion was a standout entry.

However, ther
Literary Mama
Feb 20, 2015 added it
Shelves: essays
Honest, genuine, inclusive conversations about motherhood are rare. Even rarer are the conversations that include and honor women "whose relationships to motherhood are complicated." The M Word: Conversations about Motherhood, edited by Kerry Clare, presents a rich, dynamic, occasionally conflicting conversation about motherhood that includes all women.

Read Literary Mama's full review here:
Sam Read
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This sort of book reminds us that it is normal to think and reflect upon the experience of mothering, from no matter which perspective. I do find it a little braised towards Toronto, and would love to see more stories about rural lifestyles, but perhaps there. Is room for another edition!
Andrea MacPherson
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked a lot of this collection--honed essays dealing with the many facets of motherhood. Yet there were a few that felt repetitive, in both style and content, and a select few that simply did not sit well with me. Overall, though, kudos to editor Kerry Clare for selecting varied, nuanced pieces.
Anna Kramer
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Personal essays about all aspects of having children (or not). Inspiring -
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantastic anthology, though I agree with other reviewers that more differse socioeconomic perspectives would have rounded out and deepened the collection.
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, canadian, kobo
As someone who isn't a mother, but plans/hopes to be at some point, I really enjoyed this collection. I'll be discussing it with a mother friend and I'm looking forward to our differing perspectives!
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book.
Emma W
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Just loved it. Brought to tears many times, by the telling of what could be seen as mundane or average stories and moments of women's lives by some incredible writers.
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the range of stories
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Jan 09, 2015
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Kerry Clare lives in a drafty attic in Toronto with her excellent husband, and two daughters. She is a National Magazine Award-nominated writer, and editor of The M Word: Conversations About Motherhood, which was published to rave reviews in 2014. She teaches The Art of Blogging at the University of Toronto, edits the books website,, and has written about books and reading at PickleM ...more