The complex, deeply binding relationship between mothers and daughters is brought vividly to life in Katie Hafner's remarkable memoir, an exploration of the year she and her mother, Helen, spent working through, and triumphing over, a lifetime of unresolved emotions.
Dreaming of a "year in Provence" with her mother, Katie urges Helen to move to San Francisco to live with her and Zoe, Katie's teenage daughter. Katie and Zoe had become a mother-daughter team, strong enough, Katie thought, to absorb the arrival of a 77-year-old woman set in her ways.
Filled with fairy-tale hope that she and her mother would become friends, and that Helen would grow close to her exceptional granddaughter, Katie embarked on an experiment in intergenerational living that she would soon discover was filled with land mines: memories of her parents' painful divorce, of her mother's drinking, of dislocating moves back and forth across the country, and of Katie's own widowhood and bumpy recovery. Helen, for her part, was also holding difficult issues at bay.
How these three women from such different generations learn to navigate their challenging, turbulent, and ultimately healing journey together makes for riveting listening. By turns heartbreaking and funny - and always insightful - Katie Hafner's brave and loving audiobook answers questions about the universal truths of family that are central to the lives of so many.
©2013 Katie Hafner (P)2013 Tantor
"Heartbreakingly honest, yet not without hope and flashes of wry humor." (Kirkus)
Accomplished New York Times writer and author of early cyber days turns to family history - a VERY different genre - and delivers with a wallop.
There's an art to creating the experience of the author's life as her voice matures and untangles, through decades of dysfunction, toward some maybe-future sanity. I kept wondering what nutso/psycho manipulative trick someone would pull next, as everyone tried to get on with life, yet it's all told calmly, without cliff hangers - the way life usually happens. It makes the pain, the struggles, and times of stability realistic.
The performance is lifelike and credible, adding realism to each voice in the family experience.
The impossible dream
When the grand daughter packed away her cello after being criticized by her grandmother.
Three women who shared the same dream of rebuilding their relationship but the reality of generational differences, old resentments, past neglect and alcohol addiction made the dream impossible. Insightfully written and with equal parts anger and compassion, it's a book that every woman can relate to.
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