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How I Learned to Cook
     

How I Learned to Cook

by Margo Perin
 

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A collection of writings by women on the tangled bonds they share with their(often) less-than-perfect mothers.

Every woman has something to say on the subject of her mother. In fact, many of us spend our lives trying to figure out just how we are like-or unlike-them. And yet, as intricate as the ties that bind mothers and daughters can be, most women never let

Overview

A collection of writings by women on the tangled bonds they share with their(often) less-than-perfect mothers.

Every woman has something to say on the subject of her mother. In fact, many of us spend our lives trying to figure out just how we are like-or unlike-them. And yet, as intricate as the ties that bind mothers and daughters can be, most women never let go of the desire to really know their mothers. In How I Learned to Cook and Other Writings on Complex Mother-Daughter Relationships, women authors explore what is perhaps the most complicated of family relationships.

In this elegant collection of writings, daughters describe their relationships with mothers whose own lives sometimes stood in the way of their ability to fill society's ideal of what a good mother should be. With critically acclaimed authors-including Jamaica Kincaid, Paula Fox, and Alice Walker-sharing the page with emerging writers, How I Learned to Cook proves that every daughter has much to discover and understand about her mother.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mom-daughter relationships can be fraught with competition, hostility and, in some cases, threats about rat poison. Hillary Gamerow, who writes this anthology's title essay, describes a brittle, frightening mother who casually mentions one night that she's spiked the tuna casserole and that the whole family is doomed. She tells Gamerow, "In a couple of hours, you'll start getting pains in your stomach and you'll start foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog. You know what `rabid' means, right?" And this memory isn't even the book's most horrifying. Readers meet scary mothers of every stripe, from abusive to frosty. However, this isn't a pop psychology tome, where daughters write as a form of catharsis and achieve deep understanding by story's end. Every writer in the collection has such mixed feelings about her maternal force that acceptance isn't always a given. Some do find an untidy satisfaction and feminine truce, but it often seems fragile, as when Vivian Gornick, as an adult, confronts her maudlin mom about the nature of love and is rewarded by having to cower in the bathroom as her mother drives a fist through the door's frosted glass panel. These stories offer a remarkable display of confusion, helplessness and anger mixed with adoration and love, as well as formidable talent, with contributions from Alice Walker, Paula Fox, Joyce Maynard, Jamaica Kincaid and others. Although the range of writers makes for a mix of class and race, each woman's experience in being a daughter, and sometimes in becoming a mother, keeps the collection tightly focused. (Apr. 1) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585422913
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/25/2004
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.32(h) x 0.87(d)
Age Range:
18 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Margo Perin teaches creative nonfiction at the University of San Francisco, U.C. Berkeley, and U.C. Santa Cruz.

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