What My Mother and I Don't Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence

S. & S. Apr. 2019. 288p. ed. by Michele Filgate. ISBN 9781982107345. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781982107369. LIT
OrangeReviewStarIn October 2017, as the #MeToo movement gained momentum, Filgate published an essay on the website Longreads describing her strained relationship with her mother as a result of her stepfather's abuse that her mother never believed happened. This collection takes its title from that essay, which is reprinted here, and presents 14 other pieces by a diverse set of writers, including André Aciman, Alexander Chee, Cathi Hanauer, Leslie Jamison, Carmen Maria Machado, and Bernice L. McFadden. The essays all address the authors' relationships with their mothers in stories to be savored but not necessarily read in one sitting. A lot of the writing is heavy and deals with sexual violence, mental illness, estrangement, and physical and emotional child abuse. One piece even discusses a mother accusing her daughter of a crime she did not commit that sent her to jail. Other essays are powerful treatises on love and friendship between writers and their mothers, all are beautifully composed.
VERDICT Highly recommended for readers interested in the complicated topic of mother-child/familial dynamics. [An editor's pick, LJ 2/19, p. 20.]
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