MY MOTHER/MY SELF: A Daughter's Search for Identity by Nancy Friday

MY MOTHER/MY SELF: A Daughter's Search for Identity

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An unusual view of the mother/daughter relationship--part interior journey, part general study--that explores rarely discussed aspects of sexuality and sexual development. Friday begins at home with the symbiotic bedrock of early childhood, then focuses on the life cycle--milestones and phases--returning to a stated thesis throughout: society's ""denial that a woman's sexuality may be in conflict with her role as a mother."" In trying to reconcile images of her mother as a courageous teenager jumping horses (in a photograph) with the quiescent young widow she knew as a child, Friday examines the cultural signals which stifle young girls' sexual interests and encourage mothers to muffle their own sexuality. Buttressing her precise, ample memories with psychoanalytic interpretations, generalizing and associating freely, she augments these comments with quotations from a fund of sources: psychological and sociological texts, recent works by women, interviews with professionals and academics from assorted fields. A highly personal document which incorporates private moments and her therapist's insights into the text, this nevertheless touches on experiences most women have encountered, and although the pervasive, one-size-fits-all ""we"" can't possibly cover all the bulges, Friday does confront major questions and search for less conspicuous answers. While some of her conclusions are arguable--inevitable in a work of this sort--and some subjects are neglected or overstated, the overall effort merits attention. Less provocative than The Secret Garden (1973), those sizzling forays into female sexual fantasies, this is a stimulating convergence of personal and cultural inquiry.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Delacorte