Essays Mother Daughter Relationships

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" by Jill Mc Corkle, paints a portrait of Mc Corkle's mother that is punctuated by bits of dialogue between the author and her mother in the years when the elder woman was succumbing to dementia.

The result is both hilarious and breathtakingly poignant.

(Could it be that writers are bent on teasing out even the smallest strain of rebellion in their maternal figures?

) James Seay's mother refused the difficult prospect of churning butter sidesaddle, opting to straddle the churn.

Following the death of her domineering husband, Hal Crowther's mother "rapidly rebranded as a liberal Democrat, a very rare animal in rural north Appalachia where she lived." Daniel Wallace unpacks a particularly engaging story his mother loved to tell — "her great tale of youthful misadventure" — about a first marriage at age 12 to a 17-year-old boy.

Wallace's essay is a search for the truth behind his mom's favorite story of herself, and like the best of the work collected here, it delivers his inimitable voice while also revealing something of the people and place he hails from.

They are novelists, poets, critics, professors, singer- songwriters.

Together they reflect the South's regional identity as a thing in flux, one whose very existence is up for debate.

The mothers depicted here vary widely in their cultural heritage, socioeconomic conditions and the relationships that shaped their approach to family — which in turn shaped the writers' identities.

Melody Moezzi's mother, a hardworking pathologist, is one of what Moezzi calls "the Person Mom Mafia," who "toil in teams, like professional athletes or ant colonies." Frances Mayes' widowed mother, known as Frankye, shuns work and struggles to free herself from the traps of drinking and men.


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