A Mother's Love

A Mother's Love

by Mary Morris

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Sometimes a writer so perfectly captures the reality of our lives that we are given a new way of seeing ourselves.  Mary Morris has accomplished this in A Mother’s Love, a novel about the solitary moral courage of a woman raising a child alone.
                Ivy Slovak is


Sometimes a writer so perfectly captures the reality of our lives that we are given a new way of seeing ourselves.  Mary Morris has accomplished this in A Mother’s Love, a novel about the solitary moral courage of a woman raising a child alone.
                Ivy Slovak is a jewelry designer and artist whose days are absorbed by the struggle to make an unreliable paycheck cover the needs of her infant son, and whose nights are broken by the demands of her newborn child.  Eager to rejoin the world she sees outside her window, Ivy is haunted by the memory of her mother, who abandoned he when she was seven years old.  She recalls the years spent with her loving but itinerant father, wandering the desert hoping somehow to find the troubled, beautiful woman who had left them both.  Moving seamlessly between Ivy’s colorful past in the gambling towns of the Southwest and her difficult present in New York City, Mary Morris ponders, through Ivy, how we learn to be mothers, and illustrates the resilience of all—both men and women—who raise children, either on their own or with a mate.
                With quiet eloquence and deep compassion, A Mother’s Love speaks directly to our hearts.  At the same time, it takes a serious look at the complex fabric of the American family, and returns Mary Morris to her deserved place as one of the foremost chroniclers of the secrets and strengths of the human spirit.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An accomplished writer of fiction ( The Waiting Room ) and nonfiction ( Nothing to Declare ), Morris here creates a sensitive, intriguing and touching portrait of a single mother struggling with eternal issues that are given a timely twist. Narrator Ivy Slovak, a California-born and Nevada-raised jewelry designer, lives in Manhattan with her infant son. Although the baby's father, Matthew, claims no interest in parenthood, he occasionally wavers in his resolve--an excruciating tease for the financially strapped and emotionally isolated new mother. Moreover, Ivy is swamped by memories of her own mother, who deserted her and her father when Ivy was seven, taking with her Ivy's younger sister. Unwilling to accept maternal abandonment, Ivy has gone so far as to hire a private detective. Meanwhile, other motherly figures enter her life: neighbor Mara, who hands down baby clothes and gentle advice, and Viviana, the brusque but kind baby-sitter. An infertile couple provides an ironic contrast to Ivy's excess of parenting responsibilities. As usual, Morris's writing is mature and insightful as she explores the new perspective from which a mother views and hears familiar sights and sounds: the faces of missing children on milk cartons; a TV nature show about birds raising their young; the quickening footsteps of a stranger behind her in the subway. This novel of loss and hope indeed reveals how ``our lives are shaped as much by those who refuse to love us as by those who do.'' (Apr.)
Library Journal
In her warm, poignant third novel (after The Waiting Room , LJ 5/15/89), Morris tells the story of a young, single mother struggling to raise her baby in New York. Jewelry designer Ivy Slovak decides to have her son, Bobby, even though her boyfriend cannot commit to marriage or fatherhood. Meanwhile, Ivy's past haunts her present emotional life. She finds it difficult to relate to Bobby, as she herself has never been the object of maternal love; her mother deserted her when she was seven years old, taking Ivy's younger sister with her. Flashbacks describe Ivy's youth with her gambling, itinerant father in the Southwest. In the present, she continually scans the nameless faces of the city, seeking her lost mother and sister. Realistic characters, beautiful descriptions, and a compelling examination of a modern social problem distinguish this novel, which is highly recommended.-- Stephanie Furtsch, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.
Alice Joyce
In this very satisfying, quietly provocative novel, Morris introduces a young woman who has recently given birth to a boy. The decision to have the child has severed Ivy's relationship with the baby's father and, for herself, churns up complex, painful feelings from the past. Abandoned by her own beautiful and capricious mother, Ivy is consumed with finding both her and a sister, both of whom left one day and were never heard from again. Moving between Ivy's day-to-day coping with being a single parent and her memories of a bizarre childhood, Morris delves into the ordeal of motherhood and penetrates its mysteries. On view here is the mastery of a writer in her prime, revealed in the palpable restraint of the writing and the hypnotic tempo of a commanding story.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Random House
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2 MB

Meet the Author

Mary Morris is the author of two previous novels (Crossroads and The Waiting Room), two collections of short stories, and two memoirs of a woman traveling along (Nothing to Declare and Wall to Wall).  She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and five-year-old daughter.

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