MAMA DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE by Judy Sullivan

MAMA DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Three years ago Sullivan left her husband and pre-teen daughter in Emporia, Kansas, and came to New York City to ""find my life."" This is her autobiographical reading of the underground tremors of rebellion she never fully recognized until just before the final domestic quake which freed her at last from a binding sex role. She gives an account of her ""old family"" childhood in a small Texas town (happy though circumscribed and she couldn't play Tarzan with the boys); a disturbed adolescence (her parents' divorce, many moves and the strain of being pretty and trying to please); a wedding at 18 to John (for the unworthy girl, love, shelter and protection); young married life (a part time job, housework and typing John's thesis at night); her persistence in getting a B.A. and M.A. -- ten years in all; political activism; and finally the revelation that after all that time listening to John she could ""listen to myself."" She also observes other women along the way, their initiative strangled in stereotypes, and there's a marvelously savage account of female kitchen frenzy at a Thanksgiving dinner. Familiar consciousness raising with an extreme solution not too many women would accept -- the ""Mommy come home"" letters from her child are sad indeed. But Sullivan writes with energy and some humor, and if this is calculated to intrigue wives -- and scare the daylights out of husbands -- it probably will.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1974
Publisher: Arthur Fields--dist. by Dutton