But what if you never had a chance to know your own mother? In Motherland: A Memoir, Pamela Marin writes a first-person account of her quest to know the mother she lost to bone cancer in 1973, when she was 14. Since her father removed all evidence of her mother's existence after her death and her mother had been a very private person, Marin had little to go on but her childhood memories so she embarks on a journey to Tennessee, Chicago and California to find her. "What was I doing, exactly?" Marin asks herself as she begins to interview a woman her mother went to art school with in Tennessee. But she answers her own question: "A daughter wants to know about her mother. Simple as that." And that knowledge is empowering.

Linda Stankard is a mother and a daughter.

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