Friends of the Truckee Library: Mothers and daughters reading gems
November 1, 2010
and#8220;The two worst times in a womanand#8217;s life are when sheand#8217;s 13 and when her daughter is 13. Itand#8217;s a clever turn of phrase, which makes it funny, which maybe robs it of its stone-cold truth. It has been impossible for me to be the mother of a teen without, in some important, necessary and painful ways, processing my teenage self. It has been impossible for me to learn how to be the mother of a daughter without revisiting my own life as a daughterand#8230; This is the best and worst thing about being a mother of a daughter and#8212; the way everything she does reminds you of what you did or wish you did or didnand#8217;t do; the way everything she does brings back your own childhood, your own teen years. You understand. She thinks youand#8217;re clueless. You want to save her. She doesnand#8217;t want to be saved.and#8221; and#8212; Lauren Kessler
Oh the agony of reliving your early teendom, courtesy of your very own daughter! Lauren Kessler describes the painful process in her excellent memoir and#8220;My Teenage Werewolf: A Mother, a Daughter, a Journey through the Thicket of Adolescence.and#8221; Not wanting to repeat a distant and dissatisfying relationship she had with her own mother, Kessler decides to dive into her daughterand#8217;s world. She embeds herself in middle school, following Lizzie from class to class, probing her peer relationships, online pastimes and cyberfriends, athletic and summer camp life. As Publisherand#8217;s Weekly writes: and#8220;Mothers of girls in particular will be alternately amused, horrified, and entertained as they view the turmoil and triumphs of adolescence from Kesslerand#8217;s insightful perspective.and#8221;
Indeed, as the mother of a 13-year-old daughter, I could relate to much of what Kessler writes.
Two other mother-daughter gems you can find at the library include the and#8220;Mother-Daughter Project: How Mothers and Daughters Can Band Together, Beat the Odds and Thrive Through Adolescenceand#8221; and and#8220;Mother-Daughter Wisdom: Understanding the Crucial Link Between Mothers, Daughters and Health.and#8221;-
The and#8220;Mother-Daughter Projectand#8221; describes how the authors created the Mother-Daughter Project with other women in their community, hoping to strengthen their bonds with their then seven-year-old girls. The group met regularly to speak frankly about such issues as friendships and aggression, puberty, body image, drugs and sexuality. The results were amazing: Confident, assertive teenage girls with strong self-images and close ties to their moms. Equally important, the mothers navigated their own concerns about adolescence with integrity and grace. I was so impressed with the ideas behind this book that a group of six friends and I started our own Mother-Daughter group with our then 10-year-old daughters. The seven mothers have just begun our fourth year of meeting and have watched all of our daughters transform into teenagers, laughing, crying and commiserating along the way, with the hope of fostering confident, assertive and empathic teenage daughters.
Finally, one of my favorite mind/body wellness authors, Christiane Northrup, writes from her head and her heart in and#8220;Mother-Daughter Wisdom.and#8221; Unlike the other two titles that specifically focus on adolescence, this book covers a wider age range, beginning with pregnancy and labor, and continuing through infancy, childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. and#8220;Mother-Daughter Wisdomand#8221; is written to connect the dots between a number of separate parts: Logical and emotional morality, physical and mental health, friends and family, and in an overarching sense, the relationship between being a womanand#8217;s daughter and raising a daughter of your own. While all three of these titles are in my personal collection, this one is my favorite.
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and#8212; Teri Andrews Rinne is the Childrenand#8217;s Services Librarian at the Truckee Library