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Her Mother's Daughter

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  710 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Famed feminist Marilyn French’s life-affirming saga celebrates the love and sacrifices of four generations of Polish-American mothers and daughters.

With Bella Dabrowski close to death, her daughter Anastasia, who has reinvented herself as Stacey Stevens, is trying to penetrate the longstanding barriers between them to understand the woman who gave her life.

Through the eye
Published September 1st 1996 by Ballantine Books (Mm) (first published 1987)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  710 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Mar 10, 2009 added it
French works hard to present honest portrayals of how hard woman did and do work to make family work. Impressive, if a bit oppressive, at this point.

My what a heavy read - literarlly (686 pages) and literally (not much plot, lots (perhaps too much) emotion. All the characters at one time or another, and some all the time, were overwhelmed with melancholy, a sense of hopelessness and just plain inconsolable. I think the point of the book was to figure out why and French did that but goodness what
Jan 09, 2010 rated it liked it
There were several occasions where I almost gave up on this book, just put it aside and say I gave it a shot, but I stuck it out to the end, 726 pages! Every time I was ready to quit, there would be some extremely real moment between a mother and daughter or harsh truth about the nature of relationships and generations that would suck me back in. Now that I've finished it I can't say I'm sorry I did, but it if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't.

Overall, it was of a depressing nature regarding
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
If you read 300/600 pages, can you say you 'read' it?
THis book was SO FLIPPING LONG. Here's the thing with Marilyn French. Because of the longevity of her works, it begins to feel like the tenth season of a TV show you've been following. So you're drawn in and curious to see what happens, but you are also hit with a ton of details that really stop being interesting pretty soon. This traces mother daughter relationships with narratives that are often confusing as to who is speaking, and showing h
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Her Mother's Daughter is a 1987 novel from Marilyn French, the author of the acclaimed Women's Room, a book that had a great influence on me when I was growing up, and which I recently reread.

At first, Her Mother's Daughter appears primarily to be a work of historical fiction, as it recounts the life stories and miseries of the narrator Anastasia's immediate ancestors, particularly her grandmother Frances and mother Isabella. Much of this part held the same fascination for me as A Tree Grows in
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I don't recall the content but I remember loving this book, and Marilyn French, when I was young. This is one I should reread. ...more
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Her Mother's Daughter" was, for me, one of the great novels I've read in my life and will not forget. I picked up a tattered, used version in a book store years ago simply because I had enjoyed The Women's Room so much and wanted to read something else by Marilyn French.

This one - and its 4-generational story of women - touched me deeper than The Women's Room. I found myself dog-earring pages where the feelings and worldviews expressed by the characters perfectly described things I have felt an
Aug 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
I am reading this book now and 3/4 thru it. While it is slow to get going, I really got into the 4 generations of this family of mothers and daughters and how the narration moves back and forth between them, both talking about their lives from their perspectives and then from their daughters perspectives. It is a bit scary being a mother and thinking about how one becomes one's mother often in various ways even as one has resisted this all one's life! It is a bit too long and some of the details ...more
Jess Sweetman
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Kroft
Aug 15, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting story of three generations of women, but I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. For me, it wasn't a book that I had to finish once I started and when I put it down for just a day, it was difficult getting back into. The longer I let it sit, the more difficult it was to follow when I returned to it, almost making me think that I should reread up to where I had stopped, but it wasn't that interesting to have that happen. After a struggle, I'd eventually refigure out who was ...more
Nov 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Painful. Painful. Painful. I had a very hard time finishing this book; yet,I was driven to finish it. Will the cycle ever be broken? Mother's who love their children and can not express it in a way that the children recognize it, receive it and respond to it. Father's who don't express love to their children. Divored fathers who don't support their children. Husbands who see woman only as extensions of themselves. Four generations of woman are interwoven in a story that replicates itself with ea ...more
Feb 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
I found this book to be frustrating and tedious at times yet I also felt I gained understanding of myself, my mother, my sister and perhaps women in was written in the late 80s and that is reflected, but many observations continue to be valid. I came away thankful for the love and acceptance I was given by my mother througout my life and also grateful to some degree that I did not have female children - although that relationship can also provide some of the greatest joys - if mana ...more
Feb 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy books about mothers and daughters, and their legacies
Explores the way daughters often work to avoid their mothers' mistakes but end up making their own. ...more
Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, but since French's other book, the Women's Room, is one of my favorites, I felt it didnt' measure up to my expectations. I'm just being picky, though. It's a good read. ...more
Jul 19, 2009 rated it liked it
If Marilyn French sees herself reflected in the main character of this book, then she has used feminism as a justification for her self-centeredness. What a shame.
Gypsy Lady
Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Marilyn French
Her Mother’s Daughter
761 Pages

Page 38
Why did she leave?

For it must have been a terrifying journey for a girl of thirteen who had never even been to Krakow ---- all the way to Bremen along; buying her passage with the money Aunt Sophie had sent her from America; traveling steerage in the immigrant ship, locked in the bottommost deck with hundreds of others, some sick, babies crying, no privacy. And then the horror of Ellis Island, being treated like some subhuman creature by self-sa
mistake - A sign of bacterial infection up the arm = a RED streak, not a blue streak !!
I enjoyed the book, but some passages were repetitive (it could have done with more editing) and sometimes the story-teller or the timeline was obscure. The story was about 4 generations of women and how they frequently perpetuated parenting practices, although often aware that these actions were harsh, abusive, hurtful and damaging. Anastasia in the third generation tells most of the story and is perhaps the
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personally this is my more favourite one - even though Women's Room is great without any doubt - for many reasons. So many of the characters are unforgettable, even apart from the protagonist, it has to be because it was written with much love and it shows.

The story spans four generations of women and their men, their children, and their lives, the travails they go through to not only survive but more to the point to keep their children alive and in good shape, good health, forgoing often much
Stephanie Holcomb
Jun 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I got to page 300 of this 700 page book before I just couldn't stand it anymore. It jumped around too much -- following 4 women, back in time, current time, forward in time...which I normally can follow and understand why writers do it, but French couldn't decide on whether to write in third person or first -- and never the same character! On page 299, when she described Anastasia by her name (third person) and then the next paragraph was talking AS her, that was enough. Awful.

I feel like I got
Justin Caise
Dec 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Long, tedious man-bashing, mother hate/love ing narcissistic trash. Sloppy writing, mixed time sequences i.e., Grant story - started screwing in '65, but after separation reunite in '64. Jumps in and out of characters' minds making it difficult to know who is telling the story when. Total feminist over-the-top self-pity from a man-hater who screws every guy she comes near when away from the hubby and kids. Chick-lit fantasy story, not worth the paper or electrons. ...more
Apr 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read this when I was young, but might reread it now that I have 2 daughters of my own. The story follows 4 generations of women in one family and shows how we often say we will not make the same mistakes our mother did only to do so. Great read.
Apr 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book was a huge disappointment , it promised so much but failed to deliver. The words and actions of the characters were contrived and predicable. This book is chick lit trying to be adult but fails miserably.
Mom Coulongue
Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Excellent for learning about the generation gaps in our daily lives.
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Chris Lydon
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An all time favourite.
Oct 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I just visited the tenement museum in NYC and it reminded me of this book, which I read 12 years ago. It told the story of 4 generations of women in the same family. I should have given it 5 stars.
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. It is one I would read again.
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good book on relationships.
Marjo Loyens
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: related-books
This book changed my life.
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Long and thought provoking
May 31, 2016 rated it liked it
crazy story....we do become them..................
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She attended Hofstra University (then Hofstra College) where she also received a master's degree in English in 1964. She married Robert M. French Jr. in 1950; the couple divorced in 1967. She later attended Harvard University, earning a Ph.D in 1972. Years later she became an instructor at Hofstra University.

In her work, French asserted that women's oppression is an intrinsic part of the male-domi

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