What My Mother and I Don't Talk About

Fifteen Writers Break the Silence
Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“You will devour these beautifully written - and very important - tales of honesty, pain, and resilience” (Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times best-selling author of Eat Pray Love and City of Girls) from 15 brilliant writers who explore how what we don’t talk about with our mothers affects us, for better or for worse.

As an undergraduate, Michele Filgate started writing an essay about being abused by her stepfather. It took her more than a decade to realize that she was actually trying to write about how this affected her relationship with her mother. When it was finally published, the essay went viral, shared on social media by Anne Lamott, Rebecca Solnit, and many others. This gave Filgate an idea, and the resulting anthology offers a candid look at our relationships with our mothers.

Leslie Jamison writes about trying to discover who her seemingly perfect mother was before ever becoming a mom. In Cathi Hanauer’s hilarious piece, she finally gets a chance to have a conversation with her mother that isn’t interrupted by her domineering (but lovable) father. André Aciman writes about what it was like to have a deaf mother. Melissa Febos uses mythology as a lens to look at her close-knit relationship with her psychotherapist mother. And Julianna Baggott talks about having a mom who tells her everything.

As Filgate writes, “Our mothers are our first homes, and that’s why we’re always trying to return to them.” There’s relief in acknowledging how what we couldn’t say for so long is a way to heal our relationships with others and, perhaps most important, with ourselves.

Contributions by Cathi Hanauer, Melissa Febos, Alexander Chee, Dylan Landis, Bernice L. McFadden, Julianna Baggott, Lynn Steger Strong, Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado, André Aciman, Sari Botton, Nayomi Munaweera, Brandon Taylor, and Leslie Jamison.

The complete list of narrators includes: Michele Filgate, Fajer Al-Kaisi, Roger Casey, Janina Edwards, Emily Ellet, Cynthia Farrell, Soneela Nankani, David Sadzin, Keong Sim, and Candace Thaxton.

©2019 Michele Filgate (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about What My Mother and I Don't Talk About

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A daunting task

Looking into one's life after 66 years can be a dauting task...Thanks for showing me it is possible and maybe!!! required.

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    2 out of 5 stars

will probably make you feel grateful

I expected the book to have deep stories with complicated relationships, but oh my lanta... it would have been nice to sprinkle happy/funny/in hindsight tales of a mother daughter relationship. Every story, had a deep dark take. I expected some laughs and tears, it was just tears and "oh mys" I barely finished it.

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Worth a listen.

Amazing stories! As an audiobook it was sometimes hard to discern who the reader was talking about, but the stories were well developed and filled with emotion. Recommend for anyone with a interesting or difficult relationship with their mother.

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One sided stories

Some of the stories were valid. Some were a bit windy and only from one point of view

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Must read- stunning writing.

This book was captivating, heartfelt and moving. I found myself relating to characters, crying with them, feeling what they felt. I was sucked in completely, and have rewritten my own thoughts on my mother. This book is great for anyone who doesn’t understand their maternal relationship, or needs a new way to define it. Thank you- to all 15 writers. You have helped me understand the notion of maternal love.

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  • khulud khamis
  • 07-19-19

exceptional and brave

I listened to this on Audible over the past month. The reading was excellent. These are brave, personal essays, touching on various issues, most of which we don't talk about as a society. It takes courage to open up one's heart and so publicly talk about what goes on behind closed doors. The essays show how complex, delicate, and fragile are relationships between children and parents. The essays also made me think about all what I didn't have time to talk with my mother about, who passed away six months ago.