Oh, this book is so good. It touched me. It made me laugh. It made me think. I identified with it. You just have to read this book.That's not such a bad review after all, is it? I will elaborate, but before I do, let me explain how it is that I came across Every Mother is a Daughter. Many years ago, I actually had the time and inclination to read parenting magazines (when I had only one child who took lots of naps and I wasn't sure that I knew it all already), and I had enjoyed a few articles in one magazine by a pediatrician, Perri Klass. After taking notice of her as a writer I enjoyed, I noted when her byline said that she was writing a book. So I would periodically search for books by her. Recently I stumbled upon Every Mother is a Daughter on audible.net and I knew that this was one I had to hear--now. This book is written by Perri and also her mother, Sheila Solomon Klass, who is a writer and teacher. Both women wax on the times in which they came of age-- Sheila in the 1930's and Perri in the 1970's--and how their families of origin helped shaped who they were. They also share their thoughts on balancing work and family, relationships between mothers and daughters (from Perri's teen years with her mother on to her current relationship with her own teenaged daughter), mommy wars, cooking, cleaning, and husbands, just to name a few.
A note about the subtitle: It's not really about "the neverending quest for success, inner peace, and a really clean kitchen." In fact, one of the many ways in which I related with Perri Klass was that she does not put a high priority on a clean house. The other thing that stood out was the deep inner peace that emanated from Solomon Klass, a woman who has learned to accept herself in the nearly eighty years she has pilgrimed on this earth. And as for success, although both women did have careers, it seems that they do not measure success by financial results or even the good that a teacher and a doctor respectively could do in society, but by something more. Their measure of success is closely tied to just being who they are meant to me, which is an encouragement to anyone, no matter their current path. It's tied more to the connections they have made and maintained in their personal lives, not on the ladder of the success.
The book was a great listen--the voice actors did a great job. It truly sounded like a conversation between a mom and a daughter, or two women discussing all of those things that face us as moms. I could have begun listening to it again right after finishing it, however I also felt compelled to buy the book after hearing it, and did. I can't decide if I would recommend the book or the Audio CD format.
I am familiar with some of Perri Klass's novels and other non-fiction books, but I had to find out more about Shelia Solomon Klass after being so captivated by her writing and her story. She has written some novels and a number of books for children and young adults. A Shooting Star: A Novel about Annie Oakley sits prominently on our public library's shelf as a Nutmeg Book Award nominee from 2001, and so I selected it as one of the read-alouds for my Read to Me mission. Amanda and I were equally enchanted by this book. It's one of those exceptional books that can be enjoyed by an eight year old and a thirteen year old and a thirty year old. My review of the book appears today on the new site Deliciously Clean Reads, where I will be a regular contributor.