MOTHERS OF SPARTA by Dawn Davies

MOTHERS OF SPARTA

A Memoir in Pieces
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of quirky, funny, sad, and moving short personal essays that compress the author’s life into the snippets and moments that shaped who she is today.

Davies, whose work has appeared in various journals and the Best American Essays 2015, doesn’t offer a detailed, exhaustive account of raising her children or of her own childhood. Rather, she gracefully distills her formative experiences into a purer form, capturing each time frame with a few apt examples that illustrate the impact they had on her. Readers will sense the author’s loneliness and despair at the constant moves she made as a child. "You should have known,” she writes. “Your happiness should have told you. As soon as you get used to the things in a place, as soon as you find your footing, as soon as you give yourself permission to like it, it is time to go." This early feeling hovered over Davies as she grew into adulthood, married, had children, and toiled through a divorce. She recounts how she offered solace to a young car accident victim but took years to comprehend the magnitude of that moment; struggled with her pregnancies and postpartum depression; and found humor in the stoicism of a New England Thanksgiving dinner. She also shares her many conflicting emotions regarding the joys and challenges of raising an autistic son. Throughout, Davies balances the positive and negative elements of motherhood, and in one laugh-out-loud section, she offers her picks for “Men I Would Have Slept With” (before her marriage), an intriguing list that includes Frederick Douglass, Jeff Buckley, Jason Bateman, LeBron James, and Ben Carson (!), among others. In the kaleidoscopic array of experiences she has chosen to share, readers will feel the depth and breadth of this woman's life.

Forthright, entertaining essays that portray all the love, struggle, and anguish of being a woman and a mother.

Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-250-13370-0
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2017




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