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This intimate collection of writing explores the complex relationship of mothers and daughters. In "The Mother Load," Jacquelyn Mitchard, even as a grown woman and mother herself, feels "nothing truly bad can ever happen if my mother is around." Joyce Maynard recalls "My Mother at Fifty" and talks about how her mother's decision to stay in an unhappy marriage because of her and her sister helped her through her own painful divorce. Tara Bray Smith, whose mother battled drug addiction, discusses grief, pain and acceptance in her essay "In the Offing"-"the wonderful thing about adulthood is realizing that we are all deficient, and after a certain point no one is accountable for that but ourselves." The beauty of this collection, edited by Richesin (editor of The May Queen) is the realization that, despite mothers "good" and "bad," suicidal, depressed, divorced, neglectful, all the women here remain hopeful-for themselves, their mothers and their own children, who they understand are undeniably shaped by all that has happened and can use this knowledge to face what lies ahead. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.