A collection for readers who admire or can relate to those who wholly revere their selfless, sainted mothers.
A note that Erspamer (A Letter to My Cat: Notes to Our Best Friends, 2014, etc.), the former executive vice president of programming and development for the Oprah Winfrey Network, wrote to her mother sets the tone for this carefully curated assortment of letters intended to inspire and entertain. The contributors—distinguished and prominent people in their fields—all turned out well-adjusted and happy (neurotics need not apply). Unfortunately, the author includes no insolent voice or anyone who had a more complicated or disappointing relationship with his or her mother. Worse, much of the writing is mawkish or just plain bad: “Though your grip was weakening that night in the hospital, your hands demonstrated an incredible work ethic”; "Thank you for being the most AMAZING Grandmama in the whole world!" Singer Josh Groban's letter is atypical, self-deprecating and comic ("I was odd, I was hyper and sometimes I spoke in my native Martian tongue") in its expression of gratitude for his mother's forbearance. Actress Mariel Hemingway (of the legendarily dysfunctional Hemingway clan) is a welcome tonic, offering a unique sentiment in this book full of repetitive romanticism as she expresses sorrow for her depressive, alcoholic mother's sadness with honesty and comfort: "You had too much invested in the hurt, which became your life." Most readers likely have a more balanced, and perhaps unpleasant, view of their mothers; this is a warm bath of a book that, for some readers, will inspire rueful and sardonic laughter. Other contributors include Kristin Chenoweth, will.i.am, Cat Cora, Monica Lewinsky, Dr. Phil McGraw, Suze Orman, Kelly Osbourne and Shania Twain.
The sap flows heavily in this book about mothers who are heroes, role models, guardian angels and superwomen.