American Mom: Motherhood, Politics and Humble Pie

Overview

Blakely's raising of her two sons exactly coincided with the women's movement - a time in which the idea of what a mother should be was being challenged. In a world that was increasingly violent and chaotic - ravaged by AIDS, drug use, anorexia, and teenage suicide - she began to notice that just about all the commonly held notions of child-raising had to be rethought. Learning to question the advice of experts was just the beginning. After twenty years of raising boys, after years of teaching and writing about ...
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Overview

Blakely's raising of her two sons exactly coincided with the women's movement - a time in which the idea of what a mother should be was being challenged. In a world that was increasingly violent and chaotic - ravaged by AIDS, drug use, anorexia, and teenage suicide - she began to notice that just about all the commonly held notions of child-raising had to be rethought. Learning to question the advice of experts was just the beginning. After twenty years of raising boys, after years of teaching and writing about family and women's issues, Blakely clearly sees the connection between the personal and the political. If motherhood kept her occupied with the most humbling details of life, it also delivered profound insights. "It is being someone's mother that makes us personalize every issue from sexual harassment to toxic waste," a friend reminded her. For so many years women have been dismissed for taking things personally - but maybe that's exactly how things should be taken, she concludes. In American Mom, Mary Kay Blakely begins to reconcile the apron-clad, cookie-baking myth of motherhood with the realities of women's lives. The personal stories, from someone who has been in the trenches of motherhood herself, also chronicle the tumultuous social and political events of our times. With insight and irreverence, Blakely makes clear why she chose to break the rules when the rules no longer fit.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Blakely's warm, candid, touching, fiercely loving account of raising two sons will strike a chord with parents in this age of post-nuclear, extended families. As a feminist and a civil rights and green activist in conservative Fort Wayne, Ind., she transmitted her values to Ryan and Darren, who were born in 1974 and 1975, respectively. The part-time jobs of Blakely, a high-school dean and later a journalist, and her city-planner husband, Howard, made their life together an ever-changing crazy quilt; disputes over money and responsibility led to a bitter, protracted divorce after a decade of marriage. She relocated to Connecticut with her live-in lover, Larry, who was not a family man; their break-up after six years left her a single working mother whose ex-husband paid no child support. With fresh insights honed by feminist scholarship, Blakely (Wake Me When It's Over) writes beautifully of coping with her sons' earliest years, teenage rebellion, the need for parents to impart sex education, motherhood as an exercise in constantly letting go and the empty-nest syndrome. 40,000 first printing; author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Aside from the great Murphy Brown debate, motherhood and politics are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. Cultural reporter Blakely has woven these two subjects into an interesting collection of thoughts and reminiscences. Beginning with recollections of her own mother, Blakely explores her own mothering experiences, showing how the political climate of the Seventies influenced her children's upbringing, her divorce, and the decision of her sons to take turns living with their father. With numerous magazine articles to her credit, Blakely brings both good writing and good instincts to this book. A thought-provoking example of the personal as political, this is recommended for most public libraries. [Excerpted in Ms. and Parenting magazines.-Ed.]-Priscilla Davis Dann, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., South Euclid, Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671535209
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 8.06 (h) x 0.78 (d)

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