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Mothers Who Think: Tales Of Real-Life Parenthood

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  468 ratings  ·  53 reviews
From the editors of's cutting edge Web site, "Mothers Who Think," comes "an anthology of smart and lovely essays" (Chicago Sun Times) -- provacative collection that challenges and changes our views of motherhood today.
Anne Lamott, Jayne Anne Phillips, Sallie Tisdale, Susan Straight, Jane Lazarre, Nora Okja Keller, Beth Kephart, Ariel Gore, Alex Witchel, and man
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Washington Square Press (first published 1999)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  468 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Apr 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
This collection made me feel I was not alone in my sometimes ambiguous feelings about motherhood.
All of my role models (mom, aunts, cousins) seemed to love being a mother all of the time. There was (and remains) a chunk of resentment in me that I was unable to express, let alone learn to live with. This book was a life saver.
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
I finally finished a book! This is a good one for busy moms since it's a collection of short stories and you can just pick at it here and there, but also good for anyone who is interested in a broad range of reflections on being a parent, being a child and being a woman. Not every story was a winner in my book, but I especially liked how all of them had a raw honesty to them and many had a great sense of humor. Some favorites: I Love You Both Unequally and A Mother's Body by Kate Moses, and Boy ...more
Jun 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: intellect dulled by the internet age & has at least a marginal interest in motherhood
Shelves: 2008, ladyish
you're shocked, i bet, that i'm reading another parenting anthology. i am almost done with this genre, i swear. everything i always say about anthologies applies here - not edited selectively enough, widely varying quality of work, and a number of pieces that make you question your faith in humanity.

there are some redeeming moments, but a greater number of frustrating personalities. a lot of the essays are contrived and the sentiment falls short of sincerity. this book is the "best of" of one p
I'm not quite sure why I started to peruse this book as I knew it wasn't my type of thing. Even a friend warned me off.

Problem is once I have started a book I have this guilt compulsion to finish. This was even worse as with a collection of essays and short stories there is always the hope that the next one maybe worth your time.

The first few stories were, as expected, naval gazing introspective pieces on the wonder and pain of motherhood and frequently the writing style was a self-indulgent str
Feb 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
1999 collections of essays by a whole bunch of professional writers who are also mothers.

Picked this up at a rummage sale assuming it would be boring. It's NOT.
Because they are good writers, the writing is good and the storytelling is good. And, since writers do tend to observe well and reflect more, they probably are able to be more open and searching than your average mom.
They each write about a different angle of parenting, a lot have refreshing views and honestly report parenting experiences
Dec 29, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this. Even though it was compiled 12 years ago, nearly all the stories still felt relevant to today. Boys, girls, adoption, marriage, divorce, death, money, etc. - nearly every story rang true, if only just a little bit. I laughed, and I cried. There were some beautiful passages, too, that I marked to read again.


An old one on my shelf. I need to try to meet my goal of 25 books (three more to go!) and maybe some essays on motherhood will help for some fast reading. (Already cried
May 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Not sure what thinking has to do with it, but this turned out to be more or less a collection of complaints about motherhood. Some of them from mothers in genuinely horrible circumstances, which were mostly just depressing. Others from mothers complaining about things that sounded fairly banal to my way of thinking. Many of the essays seem to be of the category of flowery writing where the writing gets in the way of the story. On the whole, not worth finishing once I found something else to read ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A friend described this as "a wonderful collection of essays with a dreadful title." She was right. I typically don't read every essay in a collection, but these just rolled one after another in the most engaging way. Only one or two seemed forced into the mold (somewhat surprisingly, one by the always-entertaining Susie Bright seemed only tenuously about motherhood and not extremely interesting). A wide range of well-written pieces on many facets about parenting--funny, heart-rending, surprisin ...more
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I was initially drawn to this collection of essays because they include work by a favorite author of mine, Anne Lamott. I was thrilled to find myself deeply enjoying each and every essay on it’s own merits. Some were so sharp and funny they made me bark with laughter. Others were graceful invitations into tough subjects that pulled my heart and mind in different directions. Overall, this is one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had recently, and my copy is available if any of my “Me ...more
Sep 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
I first read this when I was pregnant with Henry, and while it's ostensibly more relevant now, a lot of it seemed kind of dated, somehow. Or maybe also it's just that I'm tired of reading mothering rants that end up casting men as insensitive jerks. The quality of the essays seemed fairly uneven. That said, it's worth the price of admission for the Anne Lamott essay, which I went back and read again after I'd finished everything, and somehow it had gotten even better.
Whole And
Dec 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting stories of motherhood that will draw out core values and beliefs, clearly define the struggles and tribulations mothers, and fathers, endure and demonstrates the convictions mothers are wired with.

I'm not so sure about the 'real-life parenthood' part as these stories are eye opening nontheless but not your typical everyday stories.

A worthy read.

Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
Of the 37 brief essays in this book, there were maybe half a dozen that didn't particularly speak to me. All the rest were one or more of the following: fascinating, funny, horrifying, insightful, moving... &c.
Jun 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any mom
A collection of essays all dealing with motherhood. These woman are honest, brave and great story tellers. Most of their stories are amazing and will make you want to cry or laugh! Highly recommend it for any mom!
Nicole Johns
Jan 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: mothers who think
Shelves: women-motherhood
This collection of essays is written by thinkers for thinkers. A great diversity of topics and voices provides the opportunity to reflect on our own choices, dreams, questions, and fears.

You won't get answers or advice. You will get ideas and questions to ponder.
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a great collection of essays written by mothers from many different backgrounds and perspectives. Very entertaining--lots of laughs and some tears. It's just so helpful to know sometimes that someone, somewhere has gone through similar experiences--and has come out from the other side!
Jan 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: moms (who think...duh)
I picked this up at a consignment sale for a buck and it was totally worth it. There are some really good, really heartwarming, and well-written essays in here. "I Love You Both Unequally" made me cry (hormones again, probably, but still...)
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very witty, lots of great writing by moms. And the topics they tackle within parenting are all over the place, so it's likely you'll find something to relate to as you're reading. Good book for the subway since you can quickly read a chapter or two at a time.
Oct 23, 2009 rated it did not like it
Some interesting essays, but mostly these were prattles of women who think they're intellectual. Some of the hedonism and perspectives were a bit shocking to me, such as when one mom talked about taking a bath with her seven-year-old son! Not much that was really worth reading.
Feb 09, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is a collection of short stories that address edgy topics, some more edgy than others.
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Terrible title, but loved most of it.
Jill Robinson
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book.some stories more than others. Couldn't put it down.
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The title is vaguely insulting by its implications....but the essays are thoughtful and extremely well-written.
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Uplifting, heart-wrenching, and ultimately very relatable, even after 14 years.
Jun 18, 2009 is currently reading it
Actually more interesting than I anticpated and great for reading when you have only ten or fifteen minutes at a time. The pieces show a lot of variety...covers the far anyway.
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
good collection of essays from all angles. not the conventional why I love my kids stuff but much grittier. about the harder, truer, and sadder parts.
I read this SECOND right after the birth of my first child!!
Safa Brown
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great collection of essays.
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the essays. A few of them brought tears to my eyes.
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great Book! These are essays on motherhood that every mother can relate too. Easy and fast read.
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frank, honest, varied perspectives on motherhood
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