Book Title: Everything My MOther Taught Me
Author: Alice Hoffman
Goodreads Link: Click here
Release Date: 12/19/19
Star Rating: – Wonderful short story
Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
“You could grow to love something so strong and elemental, but you’d have to value the beauty of it more than you did your own life.”
In this haunting short story of loyalty and betrayal, a young woman in early 1900s Massachusetts discovers that in navigating her treacherous coming-of-age, she must find her voice first. – Goodreads
I don’t want to say too much about this, because it is a short story. It’s way too easy to get into spoilers if I keep talking, so I’m going to keep it real brief.
What I will say is that Ms. Hoffman has entered my auto-buy list. I have read a few of her books lately and I am always stunned at the depth of character and richness of emotion she is able to instill in to her work.
I know you’re not supposed to make comparisons, but I’m going to make two very favorable ones for this short story. First, a little backstory, I really don’t like short stories except for ones written by Alice Munro. A prolific writer known for her well crafted short stories about normal every day people, this story reminds me of Ms. Munro’s writings. Everything My Mother Taught Me, is part of a collection of shorts by Ms. Hoffman called The Inheritance. I’m definitely going to look it up and read them all. That’s a big deal for me.
Secondly, it reminds me of a book that is actually completely different in nearly every way from the thriller, Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr, but I can’t help thinking about it when I read this short. If only because it covers the idea that not all women are cut out, or meant to be mothers. Unfortunately, because our society values motherhood, sometimes to the exclusion of all else, as the ultimate goal of womanhood some women have children who are singularly incapable of caring for them. The book by Caleb Carr was the first time I’d ever seen that idea voiced and I’ve thought about it often since then.
Ok, so I’ve beaten all around the bush in order to keep from getting too far into the story, but you really should read this. It’s excellent and not very long, so you’re not sinking a huge time investment into it. I think though you’ll be glad you did. As always, Ms. Hoffman writes women in an honest, believable way that I always enjoy. I hope you will too.