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Table Of Contents

Introduction
Heart’s Desire
The Missing Photograph
Mess Up Your Mind
My Disquieting Muse
The Unicorn Princess
White Christmas
My Mother’s Armor
Three-Hour Tour
The Circle Line
The Gift Twice Given
The Last Happy Day of Her Life
Never Too Late
The Broken Vase
The Wok
How They Do It in France
White Gloves and Party Manners
Her Favorite Neutral
Right at My Fingertips
Midnight Typing
Julia’s Child
The Deal
The Plant Whisperer
Wait Till You See What I Found for You
Truths in a Ring
Finding the Love Child
Betrayal
The Silver in the Salt Air
She Gave Me the World
Then There Must Be a Story
Acknowledgments
Contributors
P. 1
What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most

What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most

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3.6

(24)
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Published by Workman Publishing

   In What My Mother Gave Me, women look at the relationships between mothers and daughters through a new lens: a daughter’s story of a gift from her mother that has touched her to the bone and served as a model, a metaphor, or a touchstone in her own life. The contributors of these thirty-one original pieces include Pulitzer Prize winners, perennial bestselling novelists, and celebrated broadcast journalists.
  

   Whether a gift was meant to keep a daughter warm, put a roof over her head, instruct her in the ways of womanhood, encourage her talents, or just remind her of a mother’s love, each story gets to the heart of a relationship.
  

   Rita Dove remembers the box of nail polish that inspired her to paint her nails in the wild stripes and polka dots she wears to this day. Lisa See writes about the gift of writing from her mother, Carolyn See. Cecilia Muñoz remembers both the wok her mother gave her and a lifetime of home-cooked family meals. Judith Hillman Paterson revisits the year of sobriety her mother bequeathed to her when Paterson was nine, the year before her mother died of alcoholism. Abigail Pogrebin writes about her middle-aged bat mitzvah, for which her mother provided flowers after a lifetime of guilt for skipping her daughter’s religious education. Margo Jefferson writes about her mother’s gold dress from the posh department store where they could finally shop as black women.
  

   Collectively, the pieces have a force that feels as elemental as the tides: outpourings of lightness and darkness; joy and grief; mother love and daughter love; mother love and daughter rage. In these stirring words we find that every gift, ?no matter how modest, tells the story of a powerful bond. As Elizabeth Benedict points out in her introduction, “whether we are mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, or cherished friends, we may not know for quite some time which presents will matter the most.

   In What My Mother Gave Me, women look at the relationships between mothers and daughters through a new lens: a daughter’s story of a gift from her mother that has touched her to the bone and served as a model, a metaphor, or a touchstone in her own life. The contributors of these thirty-one original pieces include Pulitzer Prize winners, perennial bestselling novelists, and celebrated broadcast journalists.
  

   Whether a gift was meant to keep a daughter warm, put a roof over her head, instruct her in the ways of womanhood, encourage her talents, or just remind her of a mother’s love, each story gets to the heart of a relationship.
  

   Rita Dove remembers the box of nail polish that inspired her to paint her nails in the wild stripes and polka dots she wears to this day. Lisa See writes about the gift of writing from her mother, Carolyn See. Cecilia Muñoz remembers both the wok her mother gave her and a lifetime of home-cooked family meals. Judith Hillman Paterson revisits the year of sobriety her mother bequeathed to her when Paterson was nine, the year before her mother died of alcoholism. Abigail Pogrebin writes about her middle-aged bat mitzvah, for which her mother provided flowers after a lifetime of guilt for skipping her daughter’s religious education. Margo Jefferson writes about her mother’s gold dress from the posh department store where they could finally shop as black women.
  

   Collectively, the pieces have a force that feels as elemental as the tides: outpourings of lightness and darkness; joy and grief; mother love and daughter love; mother love and daughter rage. In these stirring words we find that every gift, ?no matter how modest, tells the story of a powerful bond. As Elizabeth Benedict points out in her introduction, “whether we are mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, or cherished friends, we may not know for quite some time which presents will matter the most.

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Publish date: Apr 2, 2013
Added to Scribd: Mar 14, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781616202682
List Price: $9.99

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annshirley_1 reviewed this
Rated 2/5
What about motherless daughters, mothers without daughters, mothers and/or daughters who despise each other, etc.? I received this book in March 2013, read the same stuff in the sixties and seventies, and found nothing new in this anthology. Perhaps a few were better written in this new anthology but it's the same old thing. Oh well, you could use it as a Mother's Day gift if you have the need to give something inspirational..
bookwormteri reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I am not a super sentimental person, but I did enjoy the essays in this book. The topic of the essays deal with a lasting, impacting gift from mother to daughter. Not all of the gifts are tangible: a love of travel, learning tenacity and selflessness by example. Some are: a scarf, a picture. But there are stories behind all of the gifts. This would make a wonderful mother's day gift for the sentimental mom.
pamelabarrett reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I spent a week weeping my way through Elizabeth Benedict’s compilation of stories aptly named What My Mother Gave Me. It was a good, cleansing weeping as the stories brought back memories of my own mother who passed away a few years ago; and just like in these stories some memories were sweet and some not so much.The stories are told by 31 women writers who share the gifts their mothers’ gave them: ones that meant the most to them. These are not all physical gifts—all though some are—these are the life affirming, wake-up, smell-the-roses moments and lessons that we may not recognize at the time, but years later we realize how precious they were and how they shaped us. I’ve told so many women about this wonderful book and how it touched me. I loved reading it. Definite 5 stars to all the writers. Thank you to Librarything E.R.
nyiper reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I was so happy to discover a brief description of each of the story authors at the back of the book. I knew so many of them from reading their books but of course in a list of 31 there were many I did not know. What a fascinating collection of stories. I'm thinking they might have been a little stunned, at first, with the request, as in "WHAT gift can I possibly think of?" It was so interesting to see the different ways in which the authors presented their mothers, showing the incredible variation in Mother/Daughter relationships.
2chances reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Okay, Mother's Day gift this year? This book, accompanied by a letter telling your mom about a treasured something she gave you.I'm not signing off on this collection of essays in its entirety, mind. No. Some of the essays are markedly weak, and one(about the author's clerical assistant stealing her mother's jewelry) was so weird, I had to stop reading the book for a while. But overall, the stories are interesting, heartfelt, and thought-provoking. I thought about what I had given my daughters, and wondered what maternal gift I would choose to write about. (The dollhouse, y'all. My mother made me a dollhouse out of orange crates and hand towels and wrapping paper when I was eight. And let me tell you, it was awesome, and the worst thing I ever did was pass it on to my destructive cousins.)Mostly, though, what the essays made me think about was the absolutely mythic power of our images of Mother, and how we hold onto that image for a lifetime, shaping our mothers accordingly, no matter how much they try to resist being shaped. To see these often brilliant, insightful women take up neglectful, even toxic mothers, and drape them in layers of Motherly Love, was pretty awe-inspiring. Also, to read about some truly amazing mothers was pure pleasure.
smallwonder56_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I love short pieces by authors I admire. I loved my mother. What a wonderful pairing of the two--insightful (and often entertaining) authors sharing the stories of how their mothers shaped them, often through everyday things that they may not even be aware of. I especially loved the pieces by Caroline Leavitt, Eleanor Lipman, and Susan Stamberg. Rita Dove's was one that lives in my soul. A wonderful book. I'll buy a copy for my reader-buddy, but I'm keeping my own copy.
tututhefirst_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I enjoy short stories and was prepared to like this collection enormously. Some of my favorite women authors are represented in this collection--Joyce Carol Oates, Eleanor Clift, Luanne Rice, and Lisa See to name a few. The thirty-one contributors were asked to relate stories about their relationships with their mothers. Some were touching, others seemed a bit contrived. I especially loved Oates' description of the multi-colored patchwork quilt her mother had given her and how she would curl up with it during the terrible period of her first husband's illness and subsequent unexpected death. I could almost picture a small child clutching a "lovey". The premise behind the collection is a good one, the stories are short and easy to read, even if their quality is a bit spotty. It speaks of tangible inheritances, such as jewelry and horses, to more ethereal but just as long-lasting gifts of life lessons, such as when Eleanor Clift says "On the surface, my mother was a deferential housewife, but she shared her secret weapon with me when I was still a girl: 'Do what you want to do. Just don't talk about it.'" It is a book that would be a lovely gift to exchange between mothers and daughters.
staciec_10 reviewed this
I tend to not be a huge fan of mother-daughter literature, because they often come across as trite or at least as not something I could relate to in my own relationship with my mother. With What My Mother Gave Me, there was a refreshingly large range of relationships, which made this really go quickly for me. I loved that some of the stories didn't have gloriously happy endings, because that's how it goes sometimes. I also liked that each represented a vignette of a place and time in addition to a relationship. There seemed to be a disproportionate number of Jewish women, and maybe of rich families, but it wasn't such a theme that it was distracting. I would definitely recommend this to people who enjoy the complexities, nuances, and messiness that always seem to come along with relationships.
morningwalker reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Many of the shared stories in this book are written by upper-middle class Jewish women writers. Relationships between daughters and mothers who owned Manolo slingbacks, shopped at high-end New York stores, and traveled abroad were difficult for me to relate to, since none of the above applied to me, or my mother and our relationship. But, I continued reading to the end.Several times it felt that some of the daughters used a handed down object as a basis to make up a story, and were masking their true long term relationships with their mothers, in order to give a positive "gift" story to the author. In fact, one of the few contributors to the book to admit her relationship with her mother, was not one that typified the standard mother/daughter closeness that comes at the end, was the author. Her gift brought back memories of her mother, and allowed her to come to terms with her feelings for her mother, but she did not turn her story into one of a fictionalized relationship shared by each. In conclusion, there were a few stories that stood out as heartfelt and sincere and I think my favorite was "Quilts" by Joyce Carol Oats. It's quite short, but somehow without going into great detail, it tells in a few pages of how dear her relationship was with her mother. So maybe it was her relationship with her mother, or maybe it was just her writing style that spoke more to me than the other stories. I don't know, but I think it was more of what I was expecting from this book than what I found in the other stories. I think most, if not all of these stories would be read and enjoyed singularly- as short stories in a magazine-but to compile so many in one place seemed to make them monotonous.
Publishers Weekly reviewed this
In this moving collection edited by novelist Benedict (Almost), 31 notable women, including award-winning poets and novelists, examine their relationships with their mothers. Some celebrate the relationship, as with Cecilia Munoz in "The Wok." Others seek to understand why their experience was not the stuff of fairy tales, as with Sheila Kohler's "Love Child." Others celebrate the quirkiness of their mothers, as with Elinor Lipman's charming essay, "Julia's Child," about her mother's extreme dislike of condiments. Lisa See writes movingly of following in her mother's footsteps as a writer in "A Thousand Words a Day and One Charming Note," while Charlotte Silver revels in her exuberant mother's ability to use fashion as personal expression in "Her Favorite Neutral." And sadly, others seek to overcome the pain of loss, as in Judith Hillman Paterson's "The Gift Twice Given," Joyce Carol Oates's "Quilts," and Karen Karbo's "White Gloves and Party Manners." Each essay is beautifully crafted, and editor Benedict provides the perfect balance of emotions. For anyone trying to understand mother-daughter relationships, this collection provides the answer. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

2013-01-07, Publishers Weekly

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