Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood

Mothers Who Think
Tales of Real-Life Parenthood
edited by Camille Peri and Kate Moses
Villard Books
282 pages, $22.95

Here, at last, is a book for those of us who have made the desperate search for some literature (any literature!) that reflects our own intense, horrific, hilarious, joyful, maddening, bewildering, sublime experiences as mothers. There are other books out there that purport to be about motherhood, but these smart essays, culled from Salon's Mothers Who Think column (, display a wider arc of emotion than usual, and step boldly outside of the prescribed circle of subject matter. (When's the last time you saw an article about vibrators in any parenting magazine?) The writing in Mothers Who Think is alternately teeth-gritting, soul-baring, and side-splitting. Anne Lamott allows rage to rear its ugly head as she considers her son's obnoxious behavior in "Mother Anger: Theory and Practice," and a piece titled "What Your Mother Never Told You." And "How I Was Blind-sided by Childbirth and Survived" captures the real story of childbirth--finally! One writer even has the guts to trash the What to Expect When You're Expecting books (Ding-dong the witch is dead!) More reflective and serious essays delve into the deeply emotional aspects of our bonds with children, describing both the extraordinary gains and heart-rending losses that come with the territory of motherhood. We enter a big strange land when we have children; these Mothers Who Think are daring to explore it.

Christine Alfano is a book reviewer and book lover. She lives in Minneapolis and is the mother of three children.

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