What My Mother and I Don't Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence

What My Mother and I Don't Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence

by Michele Filgate (Editor)


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*Most Anticipated Reads of 2019 by Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, The Rumpus, Lit Hub, The Week, and Elle.com*

Fifteen brilliant writers explore what we don’t talk to our mothers about, and how it affects us, for better or for worse.

As an undergraduate, Michele Filgate started writing an essay about being abused by her stepfather. It took her more than a decade to realize what she was actually trying to write: how this affected her relationship with her mother. When it was finally published, the essay went viral, shared on social media by Anne Lamott, Rebecca Solnit, and many others. The outpouring of responses gave Filgate an idea, and the resulting anthology offers a candid look at our relationships with our mothers.

While some of the writers in this book are estranged from their mothers, others are extremely close. Leslie Jamison writes about trying to discover who her seemingly perfect mother was before ever becoming a mom. In Cathi Hanauer’s hilarious piece, she finally gets a chance to have a conversation with her mother that isn’t interrupted by her domineering (but lovable) father. André Aciman writes about what it was like to have a deaf mother. Melissa Febos uses mythology as a lens to look at her close-knit relationship with her psychotherapist mother. And Julianna Baggott talks about having a mom who tells her everything.

As Filgate writes, “Our mothers are our first homes, and that’s why we’re always trying to return to them.” There’s relief in breaking the silence. Acknowledging what we couldn’t say for so long is one way to heal our relationships with others and, perhaps most important, with ourselves.

Contributors include Cathi Hanauer, Melissa Febos, Alexander Chee, Dylan Landis, Bernice L. McFadden, Julianna Baggott, Lynn Steger Strong, Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado, André Aciman, Sari Botton, Nayomi Munaweera, Brandon Taylor, and Leslie Jamison.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982107345
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 04/30/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 488,062
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 5.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Michele Filgate’s work has appeared in Longreads; The Washington Post; the Los Angeles Times; The Boston Globe; The Paris Review Daily; Tin House; Gulf Coast; O, The Oprah Magazine; BuzzFeed; Refinery29; and many other publications. Currently, she is an MFA student at NYU, where she is the recipient of the Stein Fellowship. She’s a contributing editor at Literary Hub and teaches at the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop and Catapult. What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About is her first book.

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

What My Mother and I Don't Talk About Michele Filgate 1

My Mother's (Gate) Keeper Cathi Hanauer 11

Thesmophoria Melissa Febos 35

Xanadu Alexander Chee 59

16 Minetta Lane Dylan Landis 75

Fifteen Bernice L. McFadden 103

Nothing Left Unsaid Julianna Baggott 115

The Same Story About My Mom Lynn Steger Strong 125

While These Things / Feel American to Me Kiese Laymon 135

Mother Tongue Carmen Maria Machado 143

Are You Listening? André Aciman 155

Brother, Can You Spare Some Change? Sari Botton 169

Her Body/My Body Nayomi Munaweera 181

All About My Mother Brandon Taylor 207

I Met Fear on the Hill Leslie Jamison 223

Acknowledgments 259

About the Authors 261

Permissions 267

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