West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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All About Mom

Books that explore and celebrate the sometimes-complicated relationships between mothers and their children.

Dear girls : intimate tales, untold secrets, and advice for living your best life by Ali Wong

"In her hit Netflix comedy special Baby Cobra, an eight-month pregnant Ali Wong resonated so heavily that she became a popular Halloween costume. Wong told the world her remarkably unfiltered thoughts on marriage, sex, Asian culture, working women, and why you never see new mom comics on stage but you sure see plenty of new dads. The sharp insights and humor are even more personal in this completely original collection. She shares the wisdom she's learned from a life in comedy and reveals stories from her life off stage, including the brutal singles life in New York (i.e. the inevitable confrontation with erectile dysfunction), reconnecting with her roots (and drinking snake blood) in Vietnam, tales of being a wild child growing up in San Francisco, and parenting war stories. Though addressed to her daughters, Ali Wong's letters are absurdly funny, surprisingly moving, and enlightening (and disgusting) for all"--

The seasons of my mother : a memoir of love, family, and flowers by Marcia Gay Harden

In this lyrical and deeply moving memoir, one of America’s most revered actresses weaves stories of her adventures and travels with her mother, while reflecting on the beautiful spirit that persists even in the face of her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

What my mother and I don't talk about : 15 writers break the silence by Michele Filgate

As an undergraduate, Michele Filgate started writing an essay about being abused by her stepfather. It took her more than a decade to realize that she was actually trying to write about 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. This gave Filgate an idea, and the resulting anthology offers a candid look at our relationships with our mothers.

What we will become : a mother, a son, and a journey of transformation by Mimi Lemay

"A mother's memoir of her transgender child's odyssey, and her journey outside the boundaries of the faith and culture that shaped her"--

The book of Rosy : a mother's story of separation at the border by Rosayra Pablo Cruz

"From a mother whose children were taken from her at the U.S. border by the American government in 2018 and another mother who helped reunite the family, a crucial, searing story about the immigration odyssey, family separation and reunification, and thepower of individuals to band together to overcome even the most cruel and unjust circumstances"--

Now my heart is full: a memoir by Laura June

"A raw, unflinching, and at times shockingly funny memoir of motherhood and daughterhood, exploring how the first year of Laura June's daughter's life forced her to come to terms with her own mother's tragic legacy, and the connective tissue that binds together three generations of women."--

Are you my mother? : a comic drama by Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home was a pop culture and literary phenomenon. Now, a second thrilling tale of filial sleuthery, this time about her mother: voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood . . . and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter good night, forever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf. It's a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of the iconic twentieth-century psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, to one explosively illuminating Dr. Seuss illustration, to Bechdel’s own (serially monogamous) adult love life. And, finally, back to Mother—to a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers.

Amateur hour : motherhood in essays and swear words by Kimberly Harrington

An emotionally honest, arresting, and funny collection of essays about motherhood and adulthood

Dancing in the mosque : an Afghan mother's letter to her son by Homeira Qādirī

"In the days before Homeira Qaderi gave birth to her son, Siawash, the road to the hospital in Kabul would often be barricaded because of the frequent suicide explosions. With the city and the military on edge, it was not uncommon for an armed soldier to point his gun at the pregnant woman's bulging stomach, terrified that she was hiding a bomb. Frightened and in pain, she was once forced to make her way on foot. Propelled by the love she held for her soon-to-be-born child, Homeira walked through blood and wreckage to reach the hospital doors. But the joy of her beautiful son's birth was soon overshadowed by other dangers that would threaten her life. No ordinary Afghan woman, Homeira refused to cower under the strictures of a misogynistic social order. Defying the law, she risked her freedom to teach children reading and writing and fought for women's rights in her theocratic and patriarchal society. Devastating in its power, Dancing in the Mosque is a mothers searing letter to a son she was forced to leave behind. In telling her story -- and that of Afghan women -- Homeira challenges you to reconsider the meaning of motherhood, sacrifice, and survival. Her story asks you to consider the lengths you would go to protect yourself, your family, and your dignity." --Book jacket

Motherhood so white : a memoir of race, gender, and parenting in America by Nefertiti Austin

"In America, Mother = White. That's what Nefertiti, a single African American woman, discovered when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system. Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti was shocked when people started asking her why she wanted to adopt a 'crack baby' or said that she would never be able to raise a Black son on her own. She realized that American society saw motherhood through a white lens, and that there would be no easy understanding or acceptance of the kind of family she hoped to build. Motherhood So White is the story of Nefertiti's fight to create the family she always knew she was meant to have and the story of motherhood that all American families need now. In this unflinching account of her parenting journey, Nefertiti examines the history of adoption in the African American community, faces off against stereotypes of single, Black motherhood, and confronts the reality of raising children of color in racially charged, modern-day America. Honest, vulnerable, and uplifting, Motherhood So White reveals what Nefertiti knew all along - that the only requirement for a successful family is one raised with love"--Jacket-sleeve.

White walls : a memoir about motherhood, daughterhood, and the mess in between by Judith Batalion

"A memoir of mothers and daughters, hoarding, and healing. Judy Batalion grew up in a house filled with endless piles of junk and layers of crumbs and dust; suffocated by tuna fish cans, old papers and magazines, swivel chairs, tea bags, clocks, cameras,printers, VHS tapes, ballpoint pens...obsessively gathered and stored by her hoarder mother. The first chance she had, she escaped the clutter to create a new identity--one made of order, regimen, and clean white walls. Until, one day, she found herself enmeshed in life's biggest chaos: motherhood. Confronted with the daunting task of raising a daughter after her own dysfunctional childhood, Judy reflected on not only her own upbringing but the lives of her mother and grandmother, Jewish Polish immigrantswho had escaped the Holocaust. What she discovered astonished her. The women in her family, despite their differences, were even more closely connected than she ever knew--from her grandmother Zelda to her daughter of the same name. And, despite the hardships of her own mother-daughter relationship, it was that bond that was slowly healing her old wounds. Told with heartbreaking honesty and humor, this is Judy's poignant account of her trials negotiating the messiness of motherhood and the indelible marks that mothers and daughters make on each other's lives"--

Inferno : a memoir of motherhood and madness by Catherine (Author of Inferno) Cho

"The riveting story of a mother who is separated from her newborn son and husband when committed to an involuntary psychiatric ward in New Jersey after a harrowing bout of postpartum psychosis"--

Mama's boy : a story from our Americas by Dustin Lance Black

"From the Academy Award-winning screenwriter and political activist, a candid, vivid, powerfully resonant memoir about growing up as a gay Mormon in Texas that is, as well, a moving tribute to the mother who taught him about surviving against all odds Dustin Lance Black wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Milk and helped overturn California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8, but as an LGBTQ+ activist he has unlikely origins. Raised in a military, Mormon household outside San Antonio, Texas, Black always found inspiration in his plucky, determined mother. Having contracted polio as a small girl, she endured leg braces and iron lungs, and was repeatedly told that she could never have children or live a normal life. Defying expectations, she raised Blackand his two brothers, built a career, escaped two abusive husbands, and eventually moved the family to a new life in Southern California. While Black struggled to come to terms with his sexuality--something antithetical to his mother's religious views--she remained his source of strength and his guiding light. Later, she would stand by his side when he helped bring the historic gay marriage case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Mama's Boy is a stirring celebration of the connections between mother and son, Redstates and Blue, and the spirit of optimism and perseverance that can create positive change in the world"--

Mom & me & mom by Maya Angelou

The celebrated author shares the intimate story of her relationship with her mother, relating the events that prompted her mother to send young Angela to Arkansas to live with her grandmother and the complicated fallout that shaped their family life

There was a little girl : the real story of my mother and me by Brooke Shields

The actress explores her relationship with her tough single mom, detailing her role in shaping the author's career, her fierce protectiveness, and her struggles with alcohol.

The color of water : a black man's tribute to his white mother by James McBride

Who is Ruth McBride Jordan? A self-declared "light-skinned" woman evasive about her ethnicity, yet steadfast in her love for her twelve black children. James McBride, journalist, musician, and son, explores his mother's past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage, in a poignant and powerful debut, The Color Of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother. The son of a black minister and a woman who would not admit she was white, James McBride grew up in "orchestrated chaos" with his eleven siblings in the poor, all-black projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn. "Mommy," a fiercely protective woman with "dark eyes full of pep and fire," herded her brood to Manhattan's free cultural events, sent them off on buses to the best (and mainly Jewish) schools, demanded good grades, and commanded respect. As a young man, McBride saw his mother as a source of embarrassment, worry, and confusion—and reached thirty before he began to discover the truth about her early life and long-buried pain.

Dear Scarlet : the story of my postpartum depression by Teresa Wong

"In this intimate and moving graphic memoir, Teresa Wong writes and illustrates the story of her struggle with postpartum depression in the form of a letter to her daughter Scarlet. Equal parts heartbreaking and funny, Dear Scarlet perfectly captures the quiet desperation of those suffering from PPD and the profound feelings of inadequacy and loss. As Teresa grapples with her fears and anxieties and grasps at potential remedies, coping mechanisms, and her mother's Chinese elixirs, we come to understand one woman's battle against the cruel dynamics of postpartum depression. Dear Scarlet is a poignant and deeply personal journey through the complexities of new motherhood, offering hope to those affected by PPD, as well as reassurance that they are not alone"--Provided by publisher

Gorilla and the bird : a memoir of madness and a mother's love by Zack McDermott

Zack McDermott, a 26-year-old Brooklyn public defender, woke up one morning convinced he was being filmed, Truman Show-style, as part of an audition for a TV pilot. Every passerby was an actor; every car would magically stop for him; everything he saw was a cue from "The Producer" to help inspire the performance of a lifetime. After a manic spree around Manhattan, Zack, who is bipolar, was arrested on a subway platform and admitted to Bellevue Hospital. So begins the story of Zack's freefall into psychosis and his desperate, poignant, often hilarious struggle to claw his way back to sanity. It's a journey that will take him from New York City back to his Kansas roots and to the one person who might be able to save him, his tough, big-hearted Midwestern mother, nicknamed the Bird, whose fierce and steadfast love is the light in Zack's dark world.

I'm supposed to protect you from all this : a memoir by Nadja Spiegelman

"A memoir of mothers and daughters -- and mothers as daughters -- traced through four generations, from Paris to New York and back again. For a long time, Nadja Spiegelman believed her mother was a fairy. More than her famous father, Maus creator Art Spiegelman, and even more than most mothers, hers -- French-born New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly -- exerted a force over reality that was both dazzling and daunting. As Nadja's body changed and "began to whisper to the adults around me in a languageI did not understand," their relationship grew tense. Unwittingly, they were replaying a drama from her mother's past, a drama Nadja sensed but had never been told. Then, after college, her mother suddenly opened up to her. Françoise recounted her turbulent adolescence caught between a volatile mother and a playboy father, one of the first plastic surgeons in France. The weight of the difficult stories she told her daughter shifted the balance between them. It had taken an ocean to allow Françoise the distance to become her own person. At about the same age, Nadja made the journey in reverse, moving to Paris determined to get to know the woman her mother had fled. Her grandmother's memories contradicted her mother's at nearly every turn, but beneath them lay a difficult history of her own. Nadja emerged with a deeper understanding of how each generation reshapes the past in order to forge ahead, their narratives both weapon and defense, eternally in conflict. Every reader will recognize herself and her family in this gorgeous and heartbreaking memoir, which helps us to see why sometimes those who love us best hurt us most"--

Our revolution : a mother and daughter at midcentury by Honor Moore

"A daughter's memoir of her mother evolves beautifully into a narrative of the sweeping changes in women's lives in the twentieth century. Our Revolution, vivid and rich, reads like a nineteenth-century novel as we follow the love story of a woman and her family through the twentieth-century civil rights, antiwar, and feminist movements. Born into Boston society in 1923, Jenny Moore rebelled by going to college and later emerged as a writer. At twenty-one, she married Paul Moore, a decorated war hero who became Bishop Paul Moore, and joined him in a socially radical ministry. Eventually, they had nine children. "Everything was just starting," Jenny protested-meaning a new independent life inspired by the women's rights movement-when she was diagnosed with cancer at fifty. Jenny bequeathed her eldest daughter her unfinished writing, and there Honor Moore finds the mother whose loss had long haunted her. Our Revolution is a gripping account of two women navigating the twentieth century and a daughter's story of the mother who shaped her life as an artist and a woman"--

Family in six tones : a refugee mother, an American daughter by Lan Cao

"A mother-daughter memoir exploring loss, love, and healing, told in two alternating voices, from the critically acclaimed novelist and her teenage daughter"--

Memorial Drive : a daughter's memoir by Natasha D Trethewey

"At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became. With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother's life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother's history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a "child of miscegenation" in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985. Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet's attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers."--Amazon

Mother winter : a memoir by Sophia Pfaff-Shalmiyev

"A literary memoir about fleeing the Soviet Union, where she abandoned her estranged, alcoholic mother, and the author's subsequent quest to find the mother she left behind, after emigrating to America and becoming a mother herself"--

Motherland : a memoir of love, loathing, and longing by Elissa Altman

"Elissa and Rita have forever struggled to find their place in each other's worlds. Rita, an overreaching, makeup-addicted, narcissistic Manhattan singer couldn't be more different from Elissa, her gay, taciturn New England writer daughter. Stuck in an outrageous maelstrom of codependency, mother and daughter cannot seem to extricate themselves from the center of each other's lives. Motherland is their universal story: a kaleidoscopic journey built on the ferocity of mother-daughter love, moral obligation, and the possibility and promise of healing. Having survived a harrowing childhood at the hands of her mother, Elissa is finally settled in Connecticut with her wife of almost twenty years. After much time, therapy, and wine, Elissa is at last in a healthy place, orbiting around her mother, but keeping far enough away from her to preserve the independent, quiet life she has built for herself. All of this is suddenly at risk when Rita, whose days are spent traversing the streets of Manhattan from Bergdorf's to Bloomingdale's and back again, suffers an incapacitating fall that leaves her fully dependent on her only child. Forced to confront her mother's desperate need for beauty, her view of the world through a medley of men, her lost days in the spotlight, addiction, and the money that has mysteriously disappeared in the name of maintaining her youth, Elissa must navigate the waters of their shared history, obligation, the problems of caregiving and age, and the frenetic, co-dependent love that has defined their obsessive relationship. Motherland asks the universal mother-daughter question: How much love is too much love?"--

Wild game : my mother, her lover, and me by Adrienne Brodeur

"A daughter's tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity"--

Where the light gets in : losing my mother only to find her again by Kimberly Williams-Paisley

Williams-Paisley tells the full story of her mother's illness, -called primary progressive aphasia- from diagnosis through the present-day, drawing on her memories of her relationship with the fascinating, complicated, and successful woman who raised her so well. From educating herself on her mom's condition, to letting go of the shame and secrecy that surrounded it, to finding unexpected humor and grace in a terrible situation, to the ways in which her family's bond was strengthened by the experience, to becoming an awareness advocate, to accepting the woman her mother has become, this book is a heartrending and inspiring reminder of how unbreakable our relationships with our mothers are

As bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

"From the darkest hours rises life in all its glory...From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean comes a new novel set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which tells the story of a family reborn through loss and love. In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters--Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa--a chance at a better life. Their dreams are short-lived. Just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges that surround them, they learn what they cannot live without--and what they are willing to do about it. Under the Canopy of Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it"--

The best cook in the world : Tales from My Momma's Table by Rick Bragg

Margaret Bragg does not own a single cookbook. She measures in "dabs" and "smidgens" and "tads" and "you know, hon, just some." She cannot be pinned down on how long to bake corn bread ("about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the mysteries of your oven"). Her notion of farm-to-table is a flatbed truck. But she can tell you the secrets to perfect mashed potatoes, corn pudding, redeye gravy, pinto beans and hambone, stewed cabbage, short ribs, chicken and dressing, biscuits and butter rolls. Many of her recipes, recorded here for the first time, pre-date the Civil War, handed down skillet by skillet, from one generation of Braggs to the next. In The Best Cook in the World, Rick Bragg finally preserves his heritage by telling the stories that framed his mother's cooking and education, from childhood into old age. Because good food always has a good story, and a recipe, writes Bragg, is a story like anything else

What we lose : a novel by Zinzi Clemmons

"From a debut author of rare, haunting power, a stunning novel about a young African-American woman coming of age--a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, family, and country. Raised in Pennsylvania, Zinzi Clemmons's heroine Thandi views the world of her mother's childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor - someone, or something, to love. In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi's life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman's understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction"--

Where we belong by Emily Giffin

Marian Caldwell has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door, only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves

That kind of mother : a novel by Rumaan Alam

"That Kind of Mother dives deep into big questions about parenthood, adoption, and race: Is mothering something learned, or that you're born to? How far can good intentions stretch? And most of all, can love can really overcome the boundaries of race andclass? With his unerring eye for nuance and unsparing sense of irony, Rumaan Alam's second novel is both heartfelt and thought-provoking."--Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere...From the celebrated author of Rich and Pretty, a novel about the families we fight to build and those we fight to keep...Like many first-time mothers, Rebecca Stone finds herself both deeply in love with her newborn son and deeply overwhelmed. Struggling to juggle the demands of motherhood with her own aspirations and feeling utterly alone in the process, she reaches out to the only person at the hospital who offers her any real help--Priscilla Johnson--and begs her to come home with them as her son's nanny. Priscilla's presence quickly does as much to shake up Rebecca'sperception of the world as it does to stabilize her life. Rebecca is white, and Priscilla is black, and through their relationship, Rebecca finds herself confronting, for the first time, the blind spots of her own privilege. She feels profoundly connected to the woman who essentially taught her what it means to be a mother. When Priscilla dies unexpectedly in childbirth, Rebecca steps forward to adopt the baby. But she is unprepared for what it means to be a white mother with a black son. As she soon learns, navigating motherhood for her is a matter of learning how to raise two children whom she loves with equal ferocity, but whom the world is determined to treat differently. Written with the warmth and psychological acuity that defined his debut, RumaanAlam has crafted a remarkable novel about the lives we choose, and the lives that are chosen for us"--

A secret history of witches by Louisa Morgan

"A Secret History of Witches follows five generations of women -- all of whom happen to be witches -- from nineteenth-century Brittany to London during World War II. Brittany, 1821. After Grand-mère Ursule gives her life to save her family, their magic seems to die with her. Even so, they fight to keep the old ways alive, practicing half-remembered spells and arcane rites in hopes of a revival. And when their youngest daughter comes of age, magic flows anew. The lineage continues, but new generations struggle not only to master their power, but also to keep it hidden. For the world would see them punished for this gift that's been passed down, from mother to daughter, since time began. But as time races onward and World War II looms on the horizon, magic is needed more urgently than ever -- not for simple potions or visions, but to change the entire course of history. "At once sprawling and intimate, A Secret History of Witches deftly captures the greatest magic of all: the love between mothers and daughters." --Jordanna Max Brodsky, author of The Immortals"--

Battle hymn of the tiger mother by Amy Chua

Traces the rewards and pitfalls of a Chinese mother's exercise in extreme parenting, describing the exacting standards applied to grades, music lessons, and avoidance of Western cultural practices

The beach house by Mary Alice Monroe

A Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie, as seen on Hallmark Channel! Known for her moving characters and emotional honesty, Mary Alice Monroe brings readers a beautifully rendered story that explores the fragile yet enduring bond between mothers and daughters Caretta Rutledge thought she'd left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind. But an unusual request from her mother-coming just as her own life is spinning out of control-has Cara heading back to the scenic Lowcountry of her childhood summers. Before long, the rhythms of the island open her heart in wonderful ways as she repairs the family beach house, becomes a bona fide "turtle lady" and renews old acquaintances long thought lost. But it is in reconnecting with her mother that she will learn life's most precious lessons-true love involves sacrifice, family is forever and the mistakes of the past can be forgiven

The charm bracelet : a novel by Viola Shipman

"Through an heirloom charm bracelet three women will rediscover the importance of family, love, faith, friends, fun and a passion for living as the magic of each charm changes their lives. Lolly, still lives in the family cabin on Lost Land Lake where her mother gave her the charm bracelet that would become Lolly's talisman and connection to family past and Lolly hopes the present, but her daughter, Arden, and granddaughter, Lauren, haven't visited in years and time is running out for Lolly. Arden, couldn't wait to leave her small town life behind for Chicago, but now divorced and burned out at work, she's simply trying to make it from day to day. In the rush of life she's let the years and all the things she once enjoyed slip away. When she receives an unexpected phone call about her mother she must decide if she can face going home. Lauren, a talented young painter buries her passion to study business in the hopes of helping her mother after she discovers that her father left Arden struggling to make ends meet, but Lauren is slowly dying inside and doesn't know how to tell her mother the truth"--

Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead

"A tender, witty debut novel about a single mother raising her daughter among the upper crust of New York City society in the late twentieth century from a nine-time Moth StorySLAM champion. Laura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, born into old money, drifting aimlessly into her early thirties. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she's pregnant. Enter: Emma. Despite her progressive values, Laura raises Emma by herself in the same blue-blood world of private schools and summer homes she grew up in, buoyed by a host of indelible characters, including her eccentric mother, who informs her society friends and Emma herself that she was fathered by a Swedish sperm donor; her brother, whose childhood stutter reappears in the presence of their forbidding father; an exceptionally kind male pediatrician; and her overbearing best friend, whose life has followed the Park Avenue script in every way except for childbearing. Meanwhile, the applefalls far from the tree with Emma, who begins to question her environment in a way her mother never could. Told in vignettes that mine the profound from the mundane, with meditations on everything from sex and death to insomnia and the catharsis of crying on the subway, a textured portrait emerges of a woman struggling to understand herself, her daughter, and the changing landscape of New York City in the eighties and nineties. Laura & Emma is an acutely insightful exploration of class and family warfarefrom a new author whose offbeat sensibility, understated wit, and stylish prose celebrate the comedy and pathos that make us human"--

Queen sugar : a novel by Natalie Baszile

" A mother-daughter story of reinvention-about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana Why exactly Charley Bordelon's late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisianais as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles. They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that's mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man's business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart. Penguin has a rich tradition of publishing strong Southern debut fiction-from Sue Monk Kidd to Kathryn Stockett to Beth Hoffman. In Queen Sugar,we now have a debut from the African American point of view. Stirring in its storytelling of one woman against the odds and initimate in its exploration of the complexities of contemporary southern life, Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope"--

The secret life of bees by Sue Monk Kidd

After her "stand-in mother," a bold black woman named Rosaleen, insults the three biggest racists in town, Lily Owens joins Rosaleen on a journey to Tiburon, South Carolina, where they are taken in by three black, bee-keeping sisters
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