One autobiography is enough for most people, even successful politicians. Writing a second suggests a certain...


FRAMING A LIFE: A Family Memoir

One autobiography is enough for most people, even successful politicians. Writing a second suggests a certain self-obsession, but this is not what comes through the prose of Ferraro's most recent effort (after Ferraro: My Story, not reviewed). She begins with the story of her realization that the unheralded efforts of her mother and grandmother were fundamental contributions to the achievements of their daughter and granddaughter. The early chapters of the book recount the harsh, difficult circumstances in which her immigrant grandmother came to this country, struggled to survive, and was caught between the expectations of an old world and the opportunities of a new world. Her first-generation mother became a bridge, a woman who could not herself realize the independence and potential of an American woman, but who could make the American dream a reality for her daughter. From this stock Ferraro emerged an educated, strong, and ambitious woman, who believed fate was something to be shaped rather than endured. Too much of the second half of the book focuses on Ferraro's political career, remaining in touch with the family/roots theme only occasionally, and one wishes that greater insight into her relationships with her own daughters, especially given the demands her career must have placed on her time and family life, would have been provided. Nevertheless, this is an interesting, undeniably moving account of a maternal lineage lovingly written by a woman self-consciously embracing her foremothers. The most enduring image is Ferraro's presentation of what it means for parents to make genuinely selfless sacrifices for their children. What we see in these pages is not only an expression of the will to endure hardships to benefit one's child, but also the foresight and humility to embrace a goal for that child which included living a different life than that of her parents.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998


Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1998

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