LETTERS FROM MOTHERLESS DAUGHTERS by Hope Edelman

LETTERS FROM MOTHERLESS DAUGHTERS

Words of Courage, Grief, and Healing
edited by

KIRKUS REVIEW

 More-of-the-same sequel to last year's best-selling Motherless Daughters. In truth, this book is not quite the same. It contains more letters from motherless daughters but less of the research and thoughtful discussion that gave Edelman's earlier book a somewhat substantive underpinning. The book moves through stages of loss, starting with letters from teenagers who lost their mothers only a few months earlier and moving on to women whose mothers have been dead nearly 80 years. As Edelman relates it, one criticism leveled at the first book was that it tended to present women as victims. Not so, she retorts. These are ``survivors...who have experienced the most profound loss a child can imagine'' and choose to share their stories with others. Well, yes and no. As Edelman herself has pointed out, a daughter's view of her mother is muddled at best, a mix of fairy godmother and wicked stepmother. Moreover, a child's ability to heal following a mother's death seems tied to a number of factors, including, of course, the father's role and the opportunity to vent their feelings, including anger, guilt, sorrow, and fear. Many of the women whose letters are printed in this volume seem to have serious holes in that scenario, most often with fathers who enlisted them as housekeepers or little mothers of younger siblings, or who were simply too grief-stricken or confused to be a parent. Often, the correspondents complain that, without a mother, they have had no one to teach them social graces. Edelman concludes by encouraging support groups for motherless daughters. The value of these groups often lies in the relief of recognition that even at age 50, you are not the only one who wants to cry, ``Mommy, I'm scared.'' After that, it's easy for longing to deteriorate into self- pity. The letters, particularly from young women whose grief is still raw, are often touching; for the others, the reader is tempted to murmur, ``Get a life.''

Pub Date: May 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-201-48357-2
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995




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