Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mothers in Memoirs

In this week’s NYT Book Review, Lori Gottlieb talks about the family fallout when memoirists are uncomplimentary of their mothers. Gottlieb explains the dilemma: “It’s just that it’s virtually impossible to write about your childhood without writing about your mother, and people who grow up to be writers generally have some less than flattering observations to share.” Mothers react in different ways to such negative portrayals. Gottlieb’s mother, for example, pretends Gottlieb’s book doesn’t exist. Mary Karr’s mother enjoys the publicity, even if it’s negative. Amy Tan’s mother wants input in what’s written. Gottlieb’s mother sums it up: “You’re brilliant as far as your writing. … But your subject matter, I’m not so crazy about.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've read more anecdotal incidents of fathers who totally stop speaking to the memoir-writing child than mothers. It is an interesting dilemma!