Friends for Life: Enriching the Bond between Mothers and Their Adult Daughters / Edition 1

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Drawing on interviews, expert advice, and the authors’ own experiences, this wise, inspiring book will “aid every woman who has a mother, is a mother, or hopes to become one” (New York Times).

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jonas and Nissenson, both writers and editors with grown daughters, have co-authored several other books (Going, Going, Gone: Vanishing Americana, et al.). They consulted with a clinical psychologist on interview methodology for this engrossing study of the relationship between mothers and daughters who were aged 21-35. Because the authors excluded from consideration those with more serious problemsthe desperately poor, the alcohol- or drug-addicted, the anorexic, those with a physically abusive partnerthey acknowledge that their sample "is not statistically valid for scholarly purposes." Yet the 100 interviews they conducted included mothers from a variety of backgrounds, professional and working class. Besides presenting the successes and failures of mothers who have tried various ways of communicating with their daughters about relationship and career choices, Jonas and Nissenson offer informed advice on how to change mom's unproductive nagging into a supportive conversation between two adults. The authors also offer useful strategies for overcoming misplaced guilt and accepting daughters' choices that may not fulfill a mother's dreams for her offspring. Author tour. (May)
Library Journal
Jonas and Nissenson, who have collaborated before (e.g., Going, Going, Gone: Vanishing America, Chronicle, 1994. pap.), have put together a coherent and engrossing work. Their experiences with their own daughters propelled them to examine the relationships between other mothers and their grown daughters. Accordingly, they interviewed 113 women across the country. Although the authors admit that their sample isn't statistically valid, they did try to interview mothers of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds. They then fit their material into such chapters as "When Your Daughter Lives at Home" and "Your Expectations and Her Life." The authors skillfully link bits of the interviews to make their chapters flow smoothly, without relying on morphing together two or more interviewees to create one "good" story. As a result, the women's stories ring true. Appropriate for all public libraries; academic libraries should also consider for the rich oral history.Pamela A. Matthews, Univ. of Maryland Lib., Baltimore
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156005913
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/1/1998
  • Series: Harvest Book Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Mothers and daughters share genes, they share the biological rhythms of a woman's body, they have a history of shared life experiences. Just as a mother nurtures and cares for those she loves, she assumes that her daughter will nurture and care for her loved ones in turn. Because of such strong biological and social ties, a mother feels she truly knows her daughter. And, for all of these reasons, she is deeply pained when the relationship reveals that in some important way she does not know her.

Excerpted from Friends for Life by Susan Jonas and Marilyn Nissenson. Copyright © 1997.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The Developmental Paths of Mothers and Daughters 3
Ch. 2 The Burden of the Past: How Your Mother Mothered You 25
Ch. 3 Your Daughter's Personal Style and Habits 69
Ch. 4 Your Daughter's Love Life 89
Ch. 5 When Your Daughter Lives at Home 132
Ch. 6 Can She Fend for Herself? 160
Ch. 7 Changes in Your Life 189
Ch. 8 Your Expectations and Her Life 226
Ch. 9 Redefining Your Role in Her Life 249
Ch. 10 Getting Beyond Guilt 274
Ch. 11 Expressing Your Voice 293
Ch. 12 Friends for Life 315
Ch. 13 Our Personal Journey 342
Notes 347
Bibliography 353
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Interviews & Essays

Before the live chat, Susan Jones agreed to answer some of our questions:

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a mother of a daughter?

A: The big serious answer is to see someone that you've nurtured grow up to be her own person. On a more day-to-day basis, it's sharing so much; because you're the same sex, you can talk endlessly about the nature of relationships, recipes, shopping. And just talk about things, do them together.

Q: It's fun to see how much alike you are, and also how different she has turned out to be. I love finding out that we were fascinated by the same articles in a magazine, and conversely, that my daughter has hated a movie that I loved and was sure she would to. Describe your mother. What is your earliest memory of her?

A: My mother was a very stylish woman with a great sense of humor. She enjoyed life, lived high. She loved to drink, smoke, party, shop. One of my earliest memories is sitting with fascination and adoration watching my mother getting dressed and putting on her makeup for an evening out.

My mother was very domestic, a very accomplished hostess. She loved having nice things and using them. I have early memories of watching her getting ready for a dinner party and thinking that having candles on the table and little individual silver salt and peppers and the martini shaker ready for guests were the definition of what made you a grown-up.

Q: Would you ever consider leaving New York? What are some of your favorite bonding activities that you do with your daughter?

A: Both of my daughters live in New York, as I do. I love meeting for dinner and talking about what's going on in our lives. Definitely shopping. Sharing a cultural event: high culture, going to a museum; low culture, going to a movie we are both dying to see. When they lived out of town, we emailed each other a lot.

Neither of my daughters lives in the same city as I do. So when we get together, it's usually for an intense weekend. I'm famous for not liking to shop, but I willingly trail around after them, chatting and, I might add, usually paying for whatever they choose. We spend time on the phone gossiping. We eat out. Sometimes my husband and I arrange to meet our older daughter and her boyfriend for a weekend in a city we all want to visit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2004

    Great Book...

    I just read this book after reading many mother/daughter books. This one is different in that it offers others experiences in positive ways without lots of psychological input. I learned a lot from here and see myself in postive/negative roles too. Highy recommend this to any Mom of adult daughters.

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