Motherless Daughters

Motherless Daughters

The Legacy of Loss

Book - 1994
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The classic New York Times bestseller that has helped millions of women cope with and heal from the grief of losing their mothers

Although a mother's mortality is inevitable no book has discussed the profound lasting and far reaching effects of this loss until Motherless Daughters , which became an instant classic. More than twenty years later, it is still the go-to book that women of all ages look to for comfort, help, and understanding when their mother dies. Building on interviews with hundreds of mother loss survivors, Edelman's personal story of losing her mother, and recent research in grief and psychology, Motherless Daughters reveals the shared experiences and core identity issues of motherless women:

Why the absence of a nurturing hand shapes a woman's identity throughout her lifespan How present day relationships are defined by past losses How a woman can resolve past conflicts and move toward acceptance and healing Why grief really is not a linear passage but an ongoing cyclical journey How the legacy of mother loss shifts with the passage of time
Publisher: Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., c1994.
ISBN: 9780201632880
Branch Call Number: 155.937/EDEL
Characteristics: 324p.24cm.


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flevy2 Feb 28, 2013

Having lost my mother at the age of nineteen, I identified strongly with the first few chapters of this book, which talk about a daughter's abilities/mechanisms to cope with the loss of her mother at different ages. However, the middle and latter half of the book became very boring and difficult to relate to, as the author talked endlessly about her years of self-centered behavior and rebellion leading up to and following her mother's death. I couldn't relate to these stories, and neither can the women who recommended this book to me; they all stopped reading around the middle of the book, but like me they found the first few chapters valuable.

However, an even bigger problem I have with this book is the author's subtle homophobia. She spends a great deal of time talking about heterosexual women's relationships with men following their mother's deaths, but very little time talking about the lesbian experience--even though she incorporates interviews and survey statistics throughout her book that come from heterosexual AND queer women. What few words the author DOES devote to the lesbian experience end up portraying a woman's homosexuality as a choice--either unconscious or deliberate--to regain emotional and physical closeness with her deceased mother. This conclusion is not only insulting, but ridiculous--especially considering that the author is not a mental health care professional.

In summary, I recommend the first few chapters of this book for motherless daughters who need to hear that they are not alone in their experiences of grief at any stage of life. But I don't recommend relying on this author's perspective of motherless daughters' love and intimacy with romantic partners; she can only tell people what SHE experienced as a heterosexual woman of a specific ethnicity and socioeconomic class. Her experiences with romance do NOT translate into the universal conclusions she insultingly tries to draw.

Feb 22, 2013

I read this book 30 years after I lost my mother and the author's insights were so helpful I would say this book changed my life. I often recommend it to others.


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