In Not Becoming My Mother, best-selling author Ruth Reichl embarks on a clear-eyed, openhearted investigation of her mother's life, piecing together the journey of a woman she comes to realize she never really knew. Looking to her mother's letters and diaries, Reichl confronts the painful transition her mother made from a hopeful young woman to an increasingly unhappy older one and realizes the tremendous sacrifices she made to make sure her daughter's life would not be as disappointing as her own.
Growing up in Cleveland, Miriam Brudno dreamed of becoming a doctor, like her father. But when she announced this, her parents said, "You're no beauty, and it's too bad you're such an intellectual. But if you become a doctor, no man will ever marry you." Instead, at 20, Miriam opened a bookstore, a profession everyone agreed was suitably ladylike.
On what would have been Miriam's 100th birthday Reichl opens up her mother's diaries for the first time and encounters a whole new woman. This is a person she had never known. In this intimate study Reichl comes to understand the lessons of rebellion, independence, and self-acceptance that her mother - though unable to guide herself - succeeded in teaching her daughter.
©2009 Ruth Reichl; (P)2009 Penguin
First of all, I have read and loved all of Ruth Reichl's books. She is a fascinating, strong and intelligent woman and I am definitely a Foodie so her topics are generally right up my alley. It was interesting to hear about her mom and how the relationship changed thoroughout their lives. Most of us probably relate - especially how our view of our own mother's imperfections chane as we become mothers )in my case, I wonder how my mom had and has very few0. Her mother was not a typical mother and was clearly difficult at times. However, it probably helped Ruth to be the person she is. It helps that her mother was a very interesting person in her own right too. Looking forward to more from this author.
I have LOVED Ruth Reichl's books. Can she ever write about food and life! I was looking forward to this book. However, it was over before it started. So, read it if you like her writing, but beware that it is more of a booklet. She tells several of the stories about her mother that she told in other books, but you learn a lot about her mother's background. It would be a good choice for a book club discussion.
Listened to this audiobook while I cooked (of course, how else to read Ruth Reichl?) the story of all our mothers after WWII, too true and too tragic. How well I know this story from my own mother's unhappy life. Aren't we lucky we missed being born a generation earlier? Anway, this was interesting as are all of Ruth's writings, but it was sort of over before it began. I found the topic interesting, but not a full meal. The narration was pretty good although less polished than a professional's...still nice to hear the emotion of the author since she is able to read with decent expression.
I wish this book were longer - I could listen to Ruth tell stories forever. A wonderfully kind and thoughtful look back at her mother, as seen after the years of work and experience it took to not become her mother. Wonderful for anyone who is trying to figure out a seemingly difficult parent.
This is the final book I've read of R. Reichl and have relished them. While this focused on her mother, I enjoyed her other books more which included her mother in the context of the rest of her own life. But I appreciate that Ruth felt she owes her mother a fuller account and brings a sympathetic understanding of her mother based on letters and diaries Ruth has found. I empathize more with the mother who has provided humorous stories in the other books. It is well worth listening to and I love it that R. Reichl narrates all her books.
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