The Winding Path of Mother-Daughter Love

I just finished reading a book that I bought on a whim, a book that I bought because I had a few coupons, a gift card, and the lure of a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” sign. The book caught my eye because it was a memoir, but without the monetary incentives I probably would have left it on the table. I’m glad I didn’t.

The experience of reading Who Do You Think You Are?: A Memoir by Alyse Myers was intense and familiar. I read the whole book in one night because I couldn’t put it down. Myers writes about growing up in the 1960s in Queens, New York with her dysfunctional family, and she writes very well. The intensity comes from the powerful feelings that exist between the author and her mother and the ways in which they attack each other, verbally and — on the mother’s part — physically, in attempts to assuage their own pain. The familiarity comes from, well, the same things that bring the intensity.

My mother never hit me, as the author’s mother hit her. But there was an awful lot of verbal anger flying around my house in the 1970s. Intense and familiar. Who Do you Think You Are? isn’t a sensationalistic, soon-to-be-Lifetime-TV-movie kind of book. It’s a thoughtful look at the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships.

More than in any other pairing of individuals, mothers and daughters have a connection that strains the boundaries of love, hate, respect, privacy, and decorum. Mother-daughter relationships are never indifferent.

Throughout the book, Alyse Myers and her mother separate, bond, hurt each other, help each other, regret things, repeat the things they regret, and never stop thinking about one another. In the end, the reader is left with the feeling that, despite its unique aspects, their story is the story of every mother and daughter.

We try. We fail, We try again. When death comes, we are either at a good place on the winding road or a bad place. But the road continues. The relationship never ends.

Author Alyse Myers encourages readers of her book to have book club discussions, and the book has a Reading Group Guide. Alyse herself even offers to call in to your discussion. Click here for more information. Can you tell yet that I think you should read this book?

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Laurie said,

    ” Can you tell yet that I think you should read this book?”

    And I most certainly think you are right!

  2. 2

    pamela j. said,

    Hi:) I read your intro on the unschoolers Yahoo group. I’d love to do the book club thing regarding this book with a bunch of mothers/daughters . . . but I’m horrible at organizing things. LOL I have an 11-year old daughter and 23-year old son and we live in Monmouth County.

  3. 3

    […] Gaissert reviews The Winding Path of Mother-Daughter Love, a memoir [that she claims] is truly a fine and worthwhile […]

  4. 4

    […] Gaissert presents The Winding Path of Mother-Daughter Love posted at The Expanding […]


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