Meditations on maternal life
Mother’s Day is May 14! Honor mom with one of the engaging books featured below. Each provides a unique take on the challenges and rewards of motherhood.
In My Mother’s Kitchen, Peter Gethers salutes his foodie mom, the cookbook writer and expert chef Judy Gethers. During the course of her culinary career, Judy shared counter space with the likes of Julia Child and Wolfgang Puck. When she suffers a debilitating stroke in her 80s, the author is heartsick. As a salute to his mom, Gethers decides to whip up her pet recipes—an intimidating selection of delicacies with instructions that range from complex to incomprehensible. The story of Gethers’ labor of love is filled with family anecdotes, scenes from his mother’s remarkable life and plenty of humor (“as soon as I saw things like ‘swirling’ and ‘fine mesh’ when it came to making simple poached eggs, I got woozy,” he writes). Gethers balances the bitter and the sweet with skill in this moving memoir.
FOR NEWLY MINTED MOMS
“Adulthood, it seems to me, is about narrowing,” Sarah Menkedick writes in Homing Instincts. To combat that narrowing, Menkedick cultivates a life of travel and exploration that includes backpacking solo in South America. She feels most at home when on the way to a fresh destination, but after she becomes pregnant and moves with her husband to family property in rural Ohio, her attitude shifts. In the eight essays that comprise this poignant, probing memoir, Menkedick contemplates the mysteries of motherhood and the surprising pleasures of establishing a permanent home—a place where she can write, reflect and prepare for the arrival of her daughter. “For the first time, I recognize this delving into my own heart, mind, and body as a journey,” she says. This revealing book is a lovely exercise in self-inquiry that will resonate with mothers-to-be.
FOR MOMS OF THE FUTURE
Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie provides parental advice that will stand the test of time in Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. Adichie, author of the bestselling novel Americanah, began this brief tract as a letter to a friend who asked for her input on how to raise an empowered daughter. The letter grew to include 15 ideas for bringing up a fearless feminist. In a voice that’s companionable and open, she addresses critical mother-daughter issues such as sex, clothes and makeup, and she espouses an attitude of self-determination when it comes to marriage and career. Adichie, who has a daughter of her own, writes from experience—and from the heart—in this wise and inspiring book.
This article was originally published in the May 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.