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White Dresses

White Dresses Author Mary Pflum Peterson
ISBN-10 9780062386984
Release 2015-09-15
Pages 352
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In this riveting, poignant memoir of three generations of women and the white dresses that adorned them—television producer Mary Pflum Peterson recounts a journey through loss and redemption, and her battle to rescue her mother, a former nun, from compulsive hoarding. As a successful television journalist at Good Morning America, Mary Pflum is known as a polished and highly organized producer. It’s a persona at odds with her tortured childhood, where she watched her emotionally vulnerable mother fill their house with teetering piles of assorted “treasures.” But one thing has always united mother and daughter—their love of white dresses. From the dress worn by Mary’s mother when she became a nun and married Jesus, to the wedding gown she donned years later, to the special nightshirts she gifted Mary after the birth of her children, to graduation dresses and christening gowns, these white dresses embodied hope and new beginnings. After her mother’s sudden death in 2010, Mary digs deep to understand the events that led to Anne’s unraveling. At twenty-one, Anne entered a convent, committed to a life of prayer and helping others. But lengthy periods of enforced fasting, isolation from her beloved students, and constant humiliation eventually drove her to flee the convent almost a decade later. Hoping to find new purpose as a wife and mother, Anne instead married an abusive, closeted gay man—their eventual divorce another sign of her failure. Anne retreats into chaos. By the time Mary is ten, their house is cluttered with broken appliances and stacks of unopened mail. Anne promises but fails to clean up for Mary’s high school graduation party, where Mary is being honored as her school’s valedictorian, causing her perfectionist daughter’s fear and shame to grow in tandem with the heaps upon heaps of junk. In spite of everything, their bond endures. Through the white dresses, pivotal events in their lives are celebrated, even as Mary tries in vain to save Anne from herself. Unflinchingly honest, insightful, and compelling, White Dresses is a beautiful, powerful story—and a reminder of the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters.



Dirty Secret

Dirty Secret Author Jessie Sholl
ISBN-10 1439192537
Release 2010-12-28
Pages 336
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A fascinating look at compulsive hoarding by a woman whose mother suffers from the disease. To be the child of a compulsive hoarder is to live in a permanent state of unease. Because if my mother is one of those crazy junk-house people, then what does that make me? When her divorced mother was diagnosed with cancer, New York City writer Jessie Sholl returned to her hometown of Minneapolis to help her prepare for her upcoming surgery and get her affairs in order. While a daunting task for any adult dealing with an aging parent, it’s compounded for Sholl by one lifelong, complex, and confounding truth: her mother is a compulsive hoarder. Dirty Secret is a daughter’s powerful memoir of confronting her mother’s disorder, of searching for the normalcy that was never hers as a child, and, finally, cleaning out the clutter of her mother’s home in the hopes of salvaging the true heart of their relationship—before it’s too late. Growing up, young Jessie knew her mother wasn’t like other mothers: chronically disorganized, she might forgo picking Jessie up from kindergarten to spend the afternoon thrift store shopping. Now, tracing the downward spiral in her mother’s hoarding behavior to the death of a long-time boyfriend, she bravely wades into a pathological sea of stuff: broken appliances, moldy cowboy boots, twenty identical pairs of graying bargain-bin sneakers, abandoned arts and crafts, newspapers, magazines, a dresser drawer crammed with discarded eyeglasses, shovelfuls of junk mail . . . the things that become a hoarder’s “treasures.” With candor, wit, and not a drop of sentimentality, Jessie Sholl explores the many personal and psychological ramifications of hoarding while telling an unforgettable mother-daughter tale.



Secret Daughter

Secret Daughter Author June Cross
ISBN-10 067088555X
Release 2006
Pages 304
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The daughter of a white mother and black father describes the factors that caused her mother to place her in the custody of an African-American family and the impact of her mother's later choice to hide the truth about their relationship.



White Like Her

White Like Her Author Gail Lukasik
ISBN-10 9781510724150
Release 2017-10-17
Pages 316
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White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing is the story of Gail Lukasik’s mother’s “passing,” Gail’s struggle with the shame of her mother’s choice, and her subsequent journey of self-discovery and redemption. In the historical context of the Jim Crow South, Gail explores her mother’s decision to pass, how she hid her secret even from her own husband, and the price she paid for choosing whiteness. Haunted by her mother’s fear and shame, Gail embarks on a quest to uncover her mother’s racial lineage, tracing her family back to eighteenth-century colonial Louisiana. In coming to terms with her decision to publicly out her mother, Gail changed how she looks at race and heritage. With a foreword written by Kenyatta Berry, host of PBS's Genealogy Roadshow, this unique and fascinating story of coming to terms with oneself breaks down barriers.



The Seasons of My Mother

The Seasons of My Mother Author Marcia Gay Harden
ISBN-10 9781501135729
Release 2018-05-01
Pages 336
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In this lyrical and deeply moving memoir, one of America’s most revered actresses weaves stories of her adventures and travels with her mother, while reflecting on the beautiful spirit that persists even in the face of her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Marcia Gay Harden knew at a young age that her life would be anything but ordinary. One of five lively children born to two Texas natives—Beverly, a proper Dallas lady, and Thad, a young naval officer—she always had a knack for storytelling, role-playing, and adventure. As a military family, the Hardens moved often, and their travels eventually took them to Yokohama, off the coast of Japan, during the Vietnam War era. It was here that Beverly, amid the many challenges of raising her family abroad, found her own self-expression in ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. Using the philosophy of ikebana as her starting point, Marcia Gay Harden intertwines the seasons of her mother’s life with her own journey from precocious young girl to budding artist in New York City to Academy Award-winning actress. With a razor-sharp wit, as well as the kind of emotional honesty that has made her performances resonate with audiences worldwide, Marcia captures the joys and losses of life even as her precious mother gracefully strives to maintain her identity while coming to grips with Alzheimer’s disease. Powerful and incredibly stirring, The Seasons of My Mother illustrates the unforgettable vulnerability and beauty of motherhood, as Marcia does what Beverly can no longer do: she remembers.



The Spark

The Spark Author Kristine Barnett
ISBN-10 9780679645245
Release 2013-04-09
Pages 288
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Kristine Barnett’s son Jacob has an IQ higher than Einstein’s, a photographic memory, and he taught himself calculus in two weeks. At nine he started working on an original theory in astrophysics that experts believe may someday put him in line for a Nobel Prize, and at age twelve he became a paid researcher in quantum physics. But the story of Kristine’s journey with Jake is all the more remarkable because his extraordinary mind was almost lost to autism. At age two, when Jake was diagnosed, Kristine was told he might never be able to tie his own shoes. The Spark is a remarkable memoir of mother and son. Surrounded by “experts” at home and in special ed who tried to focus on Jake’s most basic skills and curtail his distracting interests—moving shadows on the wall, stars, plaid patterns on sofa fabric—Jake made no progress, withdrew more and more into his own world, and eventually stopped talking completely. Kristine knew in her heart that she had to make a change. Against the advice of her husband, Michael, and the developmental specialists, Kristine followed her instincts, pulled Jake out of special ed, and began preparing him for mainstream kindergarten on her own. Relying on the insights she developed at the daycare center she runs out of the garage in her home, Kristine resolved to follow Jacob’s “spark”—his passionate interests. Why concentrate on what he couldn’t do? Why not focus on what he could? This basic philosophy, along with her belief in the power of ordinary childhood experiences (softball, picnics, s’mores around the campfire) and the importance of play, helped Kristine overcome huge odds. The Barnetts were not wealthy people, and in addition to financial hardship, Kristine herself faced serious health issues. But through hard work and determination on behalf of Jake and his two younger brothers, as well as an undying faith in their community, friends, and family, Kristine and Michael prevailed. The results were beyond anything anyone could have imagined. Dramatic, inspiring, and transformative, The Spark is about the power of love and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we learn how to tap the true potential that lies within every child, and in all of us. Praise for The Spark “[An] amazing memoir . . . compulsive reading.”—The Washington Post “The Spark is about the transformative power of unconditional love. If you have a child who’s ‘different’—and who doesn’t?—you won’t be able to put it down.”—Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind “Love, illness, faith, tragedy and triumph—it’s all here. . . . Jake Barnett’s story contains wisdom for every parent.”—Newsday “This eloquent memoir about an extraordinary boy and a resilient and remarkable mother will be of interest to every parent and/or educator hoping to nurture a child’s authentic ‘spark.’”—Publishers Weekly “Compelling . . . Jake is unusual, but so is his superhuman mom.”—Booklist “The Spark describes in glowing terms the profound intensity with which a mother can love her child.”—Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon and Far from the Tree “Every parent and teacher should read this fabulous book!”—Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and co-author of The Autistic Brain From the Hardcover edition.



The Good Daughter

The Good Daughter Author Jasmin Darznik
ISBN-10 9780446558648
Release 2011-01-27
Pages 336
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We were a world of two, my mother and I, until I started turning into an American girl. That's when she began telling me about The Good Daughter. It became a taunt, a warning, an omen. Jasmin Darznik came to America from Iran when she was only three years old, and she grew up knowing very little about her family's history. When she was in her early twenties, on a day shortly following her father's death, Jasmin was helping her mother move; a photograph fell from a stack of old letters. The girl pictured was her mother. She was wearing a wedding veil, and at her side stood a man whom Jasmin had never seen before. At first, Jasmin's mother, Lili, refused to speak about the photograph, and Jasmin returned to her own home frustrated and confused. But a few months later, she received from her mother the first of ten cassette tapes that would bring to light the wrenching hidden story of her family's true origins in Iran: Lili's marriage at thirteen, her troubled history of abuse and neglect, and a daughter she was forced to abandon in order to escape that life. The final tape revealed that Jasmin's sister, Sara - The Good Daughter - was still living in Iran. In this sweeping, poignant, and beautifully written memoir, Jasmin weaves the stories of three generations of Iranian women into a unique tale of one family's struggle for freedom and understanding. The result is an enchanting and unforgettable story of secrets, betrayal, and the unbreakable mother-daughter bond.



Little Princes

Little Princes Author Conor Grennan
ISBN-10 9780007354160
Release 2011
Pages 308
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The riveting story of Conor Grennan's year in Nepal reads like a cross between Into Thin Air and Three Cups of Tea. While volunteering at an orphanage, Conor discovers that the children are not orphans: they are trafficked. Despite the danger, Conor treks up dirt paths with photographs of the children, miraculously reuniting dozens of families.



Eating Pomegranates

Eating Pomegranates Author Sarah Gabriel
ISBN-10 1439158134
Release 2010-03-09
Pages 272
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An intensely powerful and moving memoir about genetics, mortality, family, femininity, and the author’s battle with cancer After the grief of losing her mother to cancer when Sarah Gabriel was a teenager, she had learned to appreciate "the charms of simple happiness." With a career as a journalist, a home in Oxford, England, a husband, and two young daughters, she was content. But then at age forty-four, she was diagnosed with breast cancer—the result of M18T, an inherited mutation on the BRCA1 gene that had taken the lives of her mother and countless female ancestors. Eating Pomegranates is Gabriel’s candid and incredibly intimate story of being forced to acknowledge that while you can try to overcome the loss of a parent, you can never escape your genetic legacy. Being diagnosed with the same disease that killed her mother compelled Gabriel to write this story. In her struggle for survival, she recounts the rigors of her treatments and considers the impact of a microscopic piece of DNA on generations of her family’s dynamics. She also revisits her past in an effort to reclaim her identity and learn more about the mother who disappeared too early from her life. Beautiful and brutal, Eating Pomegranates—like the myth of Persephone and Demeter, which inspires the title—is about mothers and motherless daughters. It is about a woman so afraid of abandoning her children that she is hardly able to look at them, and about the history of breast cancer itself, from early radical surgeries to contemporary medicine. Combining passion, humor, fierce intelligence, and clinical detail, Eating Pomegranates is an extraordinary book about an all-too-ordinary disease.



Devotion

Devotion Author Dani Shapiro
ISBN-10 9780061628344
Release 2010-01-26
Pages 256
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In her midforties and settled into the responsibilities and routines of adulthood, Dani Shapiro found herself with more questions than answers. Was this all life was—a hodgepodge of errands, dinner dates, e-mails, meetings, to-do lists? What did it all mean? Having grown up in a deeply religious and traditional family, Shapiro had no personal sense of faith, despite repeated attempts to create a connection to something greater. Feeling as if she was plunging headlong into what Carl Jung termed "the afternoon of life," she wrestled with self-doubt and a searing disquietude that would awaken her in the middle of the night. Set adrift by loss—her father's early death; the life-threatening illness of her infant son; her troubled relationship with her mother—she had become edgy and uncertain. At the heart of this anxiety, she realized, was a challenge: What did she believe? Spurred on by the big questions her young son began to raise, Shapiro embarked upon a surprisingly joyful quest to find meaning in a constantly changing world. The result is Devotion: a literary excavation to the core of a life. In this spiritual detective story, Shapiro explores the varieties of experience she has pursued—from the rituals of her black hat Orthodox Jewish relatives to yoga shalas and meditation retreats. A reckoning of the choices she has made and the knowledge she has gained, Devotion is the story of a woman whose search for meaning ultimately leads her home. Her journey is at once poignant and funny, intensely personal—and completely universal.



Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress Author Rhoda Janzen
ISBN-10 1429982330
Release 2010-04-01
Pages 256
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A hilarious and moving memoir—in the spirit of Anne Lamott and Nora Ephron—about a woman who returns home to her close-knit Mennonite family after a personal crisis Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her brilliant husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her with serious injuries. What was a gal to do? Rhoda packed her bags and went home. This wasn't just any home, though. This was a Mennonite home. While Rhoda had long ventured out on her own spiritual path, the conservative community welcomed her back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda's good-natured mother suggested she date her first cousin—he owned a tractor, see.) It is in this safe place that Rhoda can come to terms with her failed marriage; her desire, as a young woman, to leave her sheltered world behind; and the choices that both freed and entrapped her. Written with wry humor and huge personality—and tackling faith, love, family, and aging—Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is an immensely moving memoir of healing, certain to touch anyone who has ever had to look homeward in order to move ahead.



Ordinary Light

Ordinary Light Author Tracy K. Smith
ISBN-10 9780307962676
Release 2015-03-31
Pages 368
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From the dazzlingly original Pulitzer Prize-winning poet hailed for her “extraordinary range and ambition” (The New York Times Book Review): a quietly potent memoir that explores coming-of-age and the meaning of home against a complex backdrop of race, faith, and the unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter. The youngest of five children, Tracy K. Smith was raised with limitless affection and a firm belief in God by a stay-at-home mother and an engineer father. But just as Tracy is about to leave home for college, her mother is diagnosed with cancer, a condition she accepts as part of God’s plan. Ordinary Light is the story of a young woman struggling to fashion her own understanding of belief, loss, history, and what it means to be black in America. In lucid, clear prose, Smith interrogates her childhood in suburban California, her first collision with independence at Harvard, and her Alabama-born parents’ recollections of their own youth in the Civil Rights era. These dizzying juxtapositions—of her family’s past, her own comfortable present, and the promise of her future—will in due course compel Tracy to act on her passions for love and “ecstatic possibility,” and her desire to become a writer. Shot through with exquisite lyricism, wry humor, and an acute awareness of the beauty of everyday life, Ordinary Light is a gorgeous kaleidoscope of self and family, one that skillfully combines a child’s and teenager’s perceptions with adult retrospection. Here is a universal story of being and becoming, a classic portrait of the ways we find and lose ourselves amid the places we call home. This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide



Mommie Dearest

Mommie Dearest Author Christina Crawford
ISBN-10 9781504049085
Release 2017-11-21
Pages 394
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A special edition of the “shocking” #1 New York Times bestseller with an exclusive new preface by the author (Los Angeles Times). When Christina Crawford’s harrowing chronicle of child abuse was first published in 1978, it brought global attention to the previously closeted subject. It also shed light on the guarded world of Hollywood and stripped away the façade of Christina’s relentless, alcoholic abuser: her adoptive mother, movie star Joan Crawford. Christina was a young girl shown off to the world as a fortunate little princess. But at home, her lonely, controlling, even ruthless mother made her life a nightmare. A fierce battle of wills, their relationship could be characterized as an ultimately successful, for Christina, struggle for independence. She endured and survived, becoming the voice of so many other victims who suffered in silence, and giving them the courage to forge a productive life out of chaos. This ebook edition features an exclusive new preface by the author, plus rare photographs from her personal collection and one hundred pages of revealing material not found in the original manuscript.



White Walls

White Walls Author Judy Batalion
ISBN-10 9780451473110
Release 2016-01-05
Pages 342
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Judy Batalion grew up in a house filled with endless piles of junk, obsessively gathered and stored by her hoarder mother. The first chance she had, she escaped the clutter to create a new identity - one made of order, regimen and clean white walls. Until, one day, she found herself enmeshed in life's biggest chaos: motherhood. Told with heartbreaking honesty and humour, this is Judy's poignant account of her trials negotiating the messiness of motherhood and the indelible marks that mothers and daughters make on each other's lives.



Are You My Mother

Are You My Mother Author Alison Bechdel
ISBN-10 9780547524368
Release 2012-05-01
Pages 224
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From the best-selling author of Fun Home, Time magazine’s No. 1 Book of the Year, a brilliantly told graphic memoir of Alison Bechdel becoming the artist her mother wanted to be. Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home was a pop culture and literary phenomenon. Now, a second thrilling tale of filial sleuthery, this time about her mother: voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood . . . and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter good night, forever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf. It's a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of the iconic twentieth-century psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, to one explosively illuminating Dr. Seuss illustration, to Bechdel’s own (serially monogamous) adult love life. And, finally, back to Mother—to a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers.



All Gone

All Gone Author Alex Witchel
ISBN-10 9781594631856
Release 2013-10
Pages 214
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Recounts the author's efforts to provide love and care for a parent with increasing dementia, a journey marked by her decision to prepare comfort foods from childhood that occasionally triggered her mother's recall.



Don t Call Me Mother Breaking the Chain of Mother daughter Abandonment

Don t Call Me Mother  Breaking the Chain of Mother daughter Abandonment Author Linda Joy Myers
ISBN-10 9781933037561
Release 2005-04-01
Pages 276
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A Prize-winning MemoirDont Call Me Mother: Breaking the Chain of Mother-Daughter Abandonment I wanted to tell the secret stories that my great-grandmother Blanche whispered to me on summer nights in a featherbed in Iowa. I was eight and she was eighty Dont Call Me Mother is an inspiring chronicle of perseverance, healing, and the unquenchable power of forgiveness. Acclaimed author and therapist Linda Joy Myerss compelling, compassionate, and often heart-wrenching memoir shares the story of her mothers abandonment of her, part of a generations-long tradition in her family. Myers uncovers the layers of a painful secret she carried with her for years, transporting us on a journey that is both familiar and uncompromising in its honesty a journey into the inner heart of a home shattered by abandonment and undiagnosed manic-depressionand a quest for the fulfillment of a childhood dream for a peaceful and loving family.