What We Carry: A Memoir

Dial. Apr. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780525512394. $27. MEMOIR
Lang (The Sixteenth of June) does a great job of understanding and conveying to readers the complexity of the relationship dynamics between mothers and daughters. She begins her story from the perspective of the daughter of a successful psychiatrist mother, an immigrant who put her own needs aside for the benefit of her family. After Lang moves across the country and gives birth to her own daughter, and subsequently suffers postpartum depression, she starts to re-evaluate the terms of her existing mother-daughter relationships. Part self-discovery, part family history, the book takes readers on Lang’s journey through her struggles with new motherhood and, later, her caregiving experiences after her mother develops dementia. Her analysis of the shifting roles of mothers and daughters, particularly through the lens of immigration, help to challenge her family’s mythology and create a more realistic picture of these roles for the benefit of her own daughter.
VERDICT Readers interested in examining their own family stories, or those who experienced the struggles of new parenthood or reversed parenting roles, will connect deeply with Lang’s beautiful memoir.

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