This is the perfect example of a book to prove why I love reading so much over watching series or movies. Just like one of the authors mentions, “As a child I dipped into books, and everything around me, including my body, faded away. It was a very conscious act. I am very lucky that early and unknowingly, I found books instead of any other drug.” (p. 192) The relationship with a mother is one of the first ones a child gets to form but we rarely get the chance to find out how diverse the ones of others can be in comparison to your own one. Surely you hear little bits & pieces from your friends but these 15 essays permit you to get an intimate & voyeuristic insight into unapologetically real relationships.
Exactly because of that fact, knowing that these are 15 real-life writers, who are willing to share some of the most raw details of their personal lives, these stories make you want to devour them up as fast as possible and get through the book in almost 1 sitting. They’re heart-wrenching, they touch you deeply & they are wonderfully varied, written by both male & female authors, illustrating the experiences of families of all kinds of different backgrounds.
The last story makes you fantasise about what it would be like if every mother came with a novel for her children to read, written about her life before becoming a mother. The first one introduces the idea of how even if you don’t have a specific “physical” home, your mother might be a representation of it, “Our mothers are our first homes, and that’s why we’re always trying to return to them. To know what it was like to have one place where we belonged. Where we fit.” (p. 1) The third one illustrates the deep & inexplicable feelings of motherhood, ” ‘Listen to me’, she said, her voice strong and unwavering as a hand under my chin. ‘You could never lose me. I will love you every day of your life. There is nothing you could do to make stop loving you’.” (p. 53) Making you wonder if you will ever be able to grasp & understand these emotions unless you become a parent yourself. Or it makes you question how little you know about the people you’re closest to judging by your DNA, “I believe that stories can save us. Our stories are our greatest currency. What one person is willing to share with another is a test of intimacy, a gift that’s given.” (p. 123)
Even though “What My Mother & I Don’t Talk About” adds up to being a series of short stories, this didn’t bother me in the least. So even if you normally aren’t a fan of short story books (like I am) you can still find it really enjoyable. A book absolutely deserving a full 5 out of 5 star rating & which I see as a strong candidate to make it onto my list of the favourite books of 2020!