Thursday, February 09, 2006
My very first book review! I can’t believe this deal, I get a new book, and all I have to do is read it and tell you about it. W00t! I’m qualified because a) I’m a mother, b) I have a blog, and c) I can read. So I received Literary Mama in the mail and started reading. There are photos to prove it.
Its a compilation of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and other thoughtful works of varying length from writers who are also mothers. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, although the introduction explains how it may appear to be, considering the dearth of maternally-minded literature. The state of motherhood gives a whole new dimension to writing, because it gives a whole new dimension to emotions. Motherhood doesn’t snuff out the ability to write, only the available time. And for a born writer, the time will be found. You’ll find out all about the impetus for this book at the Literary Mama site and the Literary Mama blog.
Quite a variety of topics here, which is refreshing. I could read a short story, or a long article, and not worry about losing my place, since I couldn’t put it down anyway. The only thing these authors have in common is that they are mothers and writers. Not all of the experiences related here are universal, but they all touch a place in our hearts. For example, I don’t have any sons, but I laughed out loud til my sides split at “Analyzing Ben”, a story that I referenced in my Little Boys post. Jennifer Eyre White is the author/engineer who calculated that her son was 15.3 times as likely to do something dangerous as her daughter.
The section on Sex, Fertility, and the Body turned the temperature up in whatever room I was reading in. Just what this lonely widder needs! The stories are not designed to be titillating, but to be real. And they are. Both.
I had put off reading the section entitled Surviving Illness and Loss until the last minute. I finally read it Tuesday, the absolute worst day I could have selected. February 7th was my late husband’s birthday. It was also my second day of cigarette withdrawal, so I was already primed to either blow up or fall apart. The stories of loss are devastating, but also cathartic. After reading “Johnny” by Heidi Raykeil, I was ready to go out and get a tattoo, which I’d never considered before. Maybe a bass guitar on my butt.
You’ll relate to some of the stories, and the ones you don’t relate to, you’ll learn from. I understood the writers who dealt with infertility, with people who question your motherhood, with death in the family, and who love a child with a serious problem. I understand the universal mother-guilt. I don’t have experience with labor pains, sons, or the Empty Nest Syndrome, but I enjoyed those stories as well. I can easily put myself in these writers’ places. The stories are that vivid.
You don’t have to be a mother to enjoy Literary Mama. If you are, you’ll love it! If you aren’t, it will help you understand the mothers you know. AND you’ll enjoy it.
Literary Mama is subtitled Reading for the Maternally Inclined. Edited by Andrea J. Buchanan (not this one) and Amy Hudock. You can see the introduction here. Available at Amazon and at a bookstore near you. Pick up a copy, and let people think you really do read more than the TV Guide.
You'll find much better reviews here and here.
Thought for today: ...these are writers who do not deserve to be forgotten. -Literary Mama introduction.
Update for the regulars: Three days not smoking. Outside of the homicidal fantasies and the out-of-body experiences, I'm doing OK. This better be worth it.
book review Literary Mama Andi Buchanan literature compilation