MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS by Ann F. Caron

MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS

Searching for New Connections
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This ode to the relationships between midlife mothers and their 20-to-30-year-old daughters has all the substance of a greeting-card poem. Too bad. Its superficiality does an injustice to the mothers, who, now in their late 40s and 50s, are the cutting edge of the feminist changeover, and to their daughters, who author Caron (Don’t Stop Loving Me: A Reassuring Guide for Mothers of Adolescent Daughters, 1991, etc.) describes as a “unique generation.” The subject is the shift from the tension of adolescent conflict between mother and daughter to a more mature connection between equals, if not peers. In chapters that cover “The College Years” and “Communicating With Each Other,” as well as boyfriends, divorce, grandmothers, spirituality, and a daughter’s marriage, Caron presents information derived from interviews with numerous (it’s not clear how many) mothers and daughters. In essence, the twentysomething daughters have many more options than their mothers had. Postgraduate education, careers as opposed to jobs, live-in arrangements with lovers of the opposite or same sex, the choice of having children or not—these are all on the menu for daughters born in the late 1960s and ’70s. Caron gives that generational difference due weight, exploring how both daughters and mothers are pressured to reinvent themselves, the daughter making it on her own, and the mother, at menopause, evaluating her new options. Anecdotes and interviews are interspersed with the author’s reflections and advice; the comments tend to belabor the obvious (“mother and daughter . . . must move on and adjust to their first years of living independently of each other”); the interviewees seem to be an assemblage of friends and friends of friends, whose names and locations “are not real.” Lacking substance and spark, this report’s greatest reward is that the mothers and daughters represented really do seem to like each other. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8050-5149-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1998




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