Mothers Who Think is a collection of essays that focuses on the many realities of motherhood. The essays are works previously featured in Salon magazine's daily column entitled "Mothers Who Think." Camille Peri and Kate Moses, both editors at Salon, have compiled a diverse combination of writers who explore the varying depths of being and having a mother.
Although the title, Mothers Who Think, might imply that such mothers are a minority, this is not the case. The essays in this book are written not by women attempting to impress others with heavyweight thinking, but by mothers who contemplate the dramatic effects mothering has on every aspect of their lives and all those who share them. In fact, mothers will be relieved to find something written on mothering that is not prescriptive, instructive, condescending, or unattainable. You will not be left feeling like a negligent, unfit, superior, or together mom. What you might gain, instead, is the sense that someone has taken the edge off of the loneliness that can at times encompass us. You'll find that you're not the only mother whose daily car trip home from school is filled with the rage and tears of the horrors of recess and the knowledge that you are the only one the child can trust. Perhaps you'll simply relate to the sheer pleasure of a swimming hole with no regulations because it is a respite that you crave as much as your child does. You will be comforted that you are not the only mother who is angry or sad. Perhaps a more powerful and uniting comfort will be the undeniable reality that we all love our children more than we can bear.
Peri and Moses have compiled an accessible and balanced collection. The tales will provide you with a range of emotions and perspectives. As Anne Lamott writes in the foreword, some are stories where mothers just tell their truth; and this, in the end, is all that any of us has to offer. After reading this collection, I am compelled to take closer note of the small offerings that my daughter and I give and take from each other every day. Mothers Who Think is celebratory and affirming. Perhaps it is the gift you might buy for yourself this Mother's Day.
Farrar Richardson is a reviewer in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.