BETWEEN MOTHERS AND SONS by Patricia Stevens

BETWEEN MOTHERS AND SONS

Women Writers Talk About Having Sons and Raising Men
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mothers often look at their sons in bewilderment, struggling to understand what makes them tick. This collection of mostly original essays describes how some mothers came to terms—or did not come to terms—with these aliens sharing space in their homes. Stevens (a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop) is the divorced mother of two sons and began to organize this collection after her boys were grown, when she finally had time to reflect on their lives together and what she had learned from them. Faced with what she believed was a dearth of stories about mothers and sons that would corroborate her experience, she solicited 17 other women to tell their tales. The few well-known writers include Mary Gordon, who was shocked into realizing that wholesale male-bashing would now include her son, and Anne Lamott; both offer excerpts from earlier works. Styles and themes vary, ranging from Deborah Gaylan’s amusing celebration of her five-year-old’s dedication to TV’s Star Trek, to Jo-Ann Mapson’s sad account of a good son gone bad. Janet Burroway, who describes herself as an academic, a liberal, antiwar, and antigun, is presented with a son who loves the military, collects guns, and hunts. Others who tell their tales include representative ethnic mothers, single mothers, an adoptive mother, happily married mothers, and even a mother who became blind when her baby was born. The most common thread among this disparate group is how quickly each mother learned, however strong her commitment to nurture over nature, that boys are different from girls—and too soon retreat from the intense intimacy that often forms between mothers and their young sons. Overall, well-written stories, sometimes moving, sometimes funny, that might engage other mothers of sons.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-85071-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2000




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