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What My Mother and I Don't Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,831 ratings  ·  279 reviews
Fifteen brilliant writers explore how what we don’t talk about with our mothers affects us, for better or for worse.

In the bestselling tradition of The Bitch in the House, What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About is an anthology about the powerful and sometimes painful things that we can’t discuss with the person who is supposed to know us and love us the most.

In the early
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Audiobook, Unabridged, 8 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by Simon Schuster Audio
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 ·  1,831 ratings  ·  279 reviews


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Jenny (Reading Envy)
These essays are varied in style and subject matter, but that is fitting since we all have different relationships with our mothers. I really noticed the recurring theme of setting boundaries as adults, and the damaging power of denial and silence. They made me very reflective - for instance I realized the expectations I had for how my mother would change after my father's death were completely wrong, and I have yet to adjust to the reality.

I had previously read the Kiese Laymon essay (I think
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Vivek Tejuja
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Relationships are complex. Most relationships are not easy to navigate around. I think the one we share with our parents is most difficult. I have always had a problem expressing what I feel to my parents. I think it just stemmed from the fact that we do not speak enough or try to make ourselves heard enough. This has nothing to do with love not being there, or not being brought up in a healthy environment (at least in my case). It is just that we have not learned how to communicate with them. ...more
da AL
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enough with the Hallmark Cards and blah blah Mother's Day platitudes -- this superb collection of honest essays focuses on the real-world complexity of being mothered and mothering, of being human. Top-notch contributors. All the audiobook performers are marvelous.
Lulu
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a heavy read. Essays from celebrated authors about dysfunctional relationships with their mothers. Keep your Kleenex handy.
Sivananthi T
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
14 writers share the complexity of their feelings and relationships with their mothers. It seems mine is simultaneously all of it and none of it. For most of our lives we see and experience our mothers through our lens, our views, of what is said and done to us. And then the point begins with looking at our mothers as individuals in their own right, with stories of their own. Many years are spent in that floundering between desiring approval and receiving/ not receiving that approval; and ...more
Melissa
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-review
A very solid collection of essays from a diverse selection of writers about the things they don’t talk to their mothers about: family history, abuse, love, protection, secrets, first husbands, expectations. Particularly poignant essays are from Alexander Chee and Brandon Taylor (the last few pages of Brandon’s gutted me, not because it’s graphic or horrible, but because it’s a wish to have understood his mom and who he knew her to be).
Meghan
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
An essay collection chock full of talent and heart, from Alexander Chee to Kiese Laymon to Leslie Jamison. Good stuff.
Hillary
This collection of essays is human, vulnerable, and at times cathartic. It is uneven at times, but highlights unique literary voices and encourages self reflection and forgiveness.

It is not really what I thought it would be - and with so many voices, there were obviously some essays that stand out as higher quality, that resonated more with me and made a more lasting impression. I was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity - in gender, ethnicity, economic background, life trauma experiences,
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BookOfCinz
Our mothers are our first homes, and that’s why we’re always trying to return to them. To know what it was like to have one place where we belonged. Where we fit.

In What My Mother And I Don't Talk About we read essays from fifteen writers about their relationships with their moms and what they don't talk about. This book was such an interesting read for me. It made me feel like I am not the only person who feels like they don't know their mother or don't talk to their mother about certain
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Jaime
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every essay in here - and so many great writers! - was thought-provoking and brought something new to the table. I loved how different the essays were and the richness of the collection.
Emma
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beginning with the title essay, this is a powerful and candid collection on a universal theme, showing the scope of mother-daughter relationships and their impact.
Camelia Rose
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: motherhood, essays
This is a collection of 15 essays about mother-child relationship from different authors, each offering a glimpse into a uniquely complex relationship. More than half of the stories lean towards dysfunctional families or abusive/neglectful/inadequate mothers. I like the emotional depth of each story, and enjoy almost all of them.

Mothering is perhaps the most challenging job in the world. Mothers are held to sometimes impossibly high standard. To a child, her/his mother is the world, yet to the
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Jo
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essay collections can widely vary in the quality of essays which I expected, but I didn’t expect almost every essay to explore to worst mothers in the world and how writing saved the authors. I was expecting more nuanced view of less fraught relationships.
Kate
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong

I finished this collection up last week. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I find reading almost anything about Motherhood and Mother-Child relationships so facinating! I loved how these essays showcased all different relationships with Mothers. The cause and effect of the things we dont speak of. From traumas, addictions, shame, to decisions mother make or don't to fathers to our mothers own lives. It was a very well edited collection. It
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Jane Hamilton
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An uneven collection that dares to ask how to break the silences between mothers and children. I felt some essays in my bones and others were ho-hum for me, but I realize that's not about the essay quality, uniformly good, and instead about my relationship with my mother and how it has moved like the spices she used through everything of life I taste.
Bridgit Morgan
May 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This collection of essays was unfortunately a bit lackluster for me.
Shannon Perri
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“There is relief in breaking the silence. This is also how we grow. Acknowledging what we couldn’t say for so long, for whatever reason, is a way to heal our relationships with others and perhaps most important, with ourselves,” says Michele Filgate in the intro of her fantastic new curated essay collection, WHAT MY MOTHER AND I DON’T TALK ABOUT. I couldn’t stop reading—**Everyone** should read this book. As I get closer to entering motherhood by the day, I absolutely lived for these meditations ...more
Rachel
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Oh, wow. This collection of short stories is just one punch to the next and it's amazing.

For some reason, I had thought this was a collection about daughters speaking with their mothers but it ISN'T. These are people of a large variety of races, sexual orientations, and genders speaking not only to their mothers, but to their underlying family dynamic as a whole. The stories are so rich and have so many different perspectives and relationships and all are beautifully analyzed.

This book gave me
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Yanira
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find stories about motherhood so intriguing, like cult stories. It is true that relationships between mothers and daughters are often based on what is not said, what decisions are not made, what is left up in the air. That’s why I picked this collection of essays to read. Unfortunately, only a few are striking and memorable.
Rachel
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love this.

A tremendous, bright, beautiful list of contributors all telling such complex, thoughtful stories about their mothers.

Made my brain whir about my own mom, the stories she has to tell, and the stories I choose to tell myself about her.

Seriously glorious. Read it.
Cassie
Excellent essay collection featuring great talent. It really made me consider my relationships with my own parents.
Deirdre Sugiuchi
This collection is amazing. Highly recommended!
Westminster Library
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christine, essays
I was drawn to this book because I have a difficult relationship with my mother. For the most part I enjoyed the essays, whether the writer had a good relationship or not. I could relate to most of the stories. There were some that were hard to read or that I didn't care for the writing style, but I was nonetheless introduced to a variety of writers I wasn't familiar with and am interested in reading more of their work. I'm sure I will read this book again.

Favorite quote: "My mother is hard to
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Ashley Elliott
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Mothers, mothering, relationships with mothers, it’s all hard. It’s hard to process, live through, survive sometimes even if you’ve got the best mother who ever lived. It’s a relationship that you grow up with in more ways than one as it’s constantly changing. This was a good, relatable, sad and truthful read in a way I can’t be about my own mother. I appreciate the emotional labor others were willing to go through that I won’t touch personally.
Jennifer
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good essay collection. I'll need to buy it in print at some point. I think listening to this essay collection took away some of my enjoyment, as I was distracted by the reader's voice. The authors of these essays laid themselves bare, and I didn't realize I would question my own mothering more than I would question my relationship with my own mom.
Moira
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was introduced to me this week on one of my favorite pods. I was immediately gripped by the discussion the host and editor had. The essays are so different and gripping in their own way. No matter the relationship you have/had with your mother you will relate to this book.
Jeimy
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with many essay collections, there are some hits and some misses, but even the "misses" were relatable in some ways.
Neek
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some essays were better than others but overall I did not find any of them to be especially powerful or poignant.
Amalia Sanchez
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not that I didn't appreciate my relationship with my mama before, but my goodness. This collection of essays is definitely heavy on moms who lean towards the abusive or neglectful. I enjoyed almost every single essay, although I would have loved to hear more reflections from children who were products of run-of-the-mill family dysfunction. Perhaps the editor wanted to showcase the gamut of very functional to very non-functional, but I think the mother-child relationship is compelling enough as a ...more
Jeremy
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
- Michele Filgate
That made me feel like anything was possible. All you had to do was begin.

“I love you past the sun and the moon and the stars,” she’d always say to me when I was little. But I just want her to love me here. Now. On Earth.

- Cathi Hanauer
“But you know, Cathi, you want to take on everything with him. And I think it’s better to let some things go. It’s like you’re always looking to correct him, or-you’re on him.”

“But I never would have left. We have a life together. Whatever it was,
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