What My Mother and I Don't Talk About : Fifteen Writers Break the Silence
by Filgate, Michele (EDT)







Introductionxiii
What My Mother and I Don't Talk About
1(10)
Michele Filgate
My Mother's (Gate) Keeper
11(24)
Cathi Hanauer
Thesmophoria
35(24)
Melissa Febos
Xanadu
59(16)
Alexander Chee
16 Minetta Lane
75(28)
Dylan Landis
Fifteen
103(12)
Bernice L. McFadden
Nothing Left Unsaid
115(10)
Julianna Baggott
The Same Story About My Mom
125(10)
Lynn Sieger Strong
While These Things / Feel American to Me
135(8)
Kiese Laymon
Mother Tongue
143(12)
Carmen Maria Machado
Are You Listening?
155(14)
Andre Aciman
Brother, Can You Spare Some Changed
169(12)
Sari Botton
Her Body/My Body
181(26)
Nayomi Munaweera
All About My Mother
207(16)
Brandon Taylor
I Met Fear on the Hill
223(36)
Leslie Jamison
Acknowledgments259(2)
About the Authors261(6)
Permissions267


'You will devour these beautifully written'and very important'tales of honesty, pain, and resilience' (Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and City of Girls) from fifteen 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.





Michele Filgate's work has appeared in Longreads; The Washington Post; the Los Angeles TimesThe Boston GlobeThe Paris Review DailyTin House; Gulf CoastO, The Oprah MagazineBuzzFeed; Refinery29; and many other publications. Currently, she is an MFA student at NYU, where she is the recipient of the Stein Fellowship. She's a contributing editor at Literary Hub and teaches at the Sackett Street Writers' Workshop and Catapult. What My Mother and I Don't Talk About is her first book.





*Starred Review* Ask 15 writers to share their most private thoughts about their perhaps most personal relationship, and prepare for fireworks. Filgate opens this lit-fuse collection with her essay on the abusive stepfather who tainted her relationship with her mother. The viral response to that piece, first published in Longreads, and the ultimate relief Filgate felt in writing it led her to gather these pieces from 14 other writers. Kiese Laymon explains why he wrote Heavy, winner of the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal, directly to his mother. Novelist Nayomi Munaweera discloses that her essay, relating the profound effects of her mother's lifelong emotional duress, "is the hardest thing she's written yet." André Aciman considers how his mother's deafness shaped her entire life, and made her a master of intimate communication. Seeking a topic that she and her mom don't readily discuss, Leslie Jamison must go back to a time before she was even born, through the autobiographical novel written by her mother's first husband. Sharing a very specific prompt while varying in nearly every other aspect-length, tone, style, approach-these essays, each one exceptional on its own, encompass both love and writing at their most vulnerable, and could power entire cities with their electricity. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.





Fifteen essayists-many luminaries-write unflinchingly about their mothers. From the first page of the introduction, where editor Filgate-an MFA student at NYU and contributing editor at Literary Hub-names cooking as a way of staying connected to the mother she doesn't talk to very often, this collection is honest and riveting. Kiese Laymon writes about the difference between loving someone and loving how that someone makes you feel, while Carmen Maria Machado explores how her feelings about the mother from whom she's estranged shape her thoughts about having, or not having, children herself. In her sharp contribution, Lynn Steger Strong considers what she cannot find a way to say about the anger she feels toward her mother. Julianna Baggott describes being her mother's "confessor." André Aciman's ruminations about his mother's deafness also serve as odes to language and bodies and communication. Brandon Taylor illuminates the experience of cancer and examines his lack of empathy for his mother, and Leslie Jamison rounds out the collecti on with a loving piece in which she attempts to "project my admiration back through time to reassure the woman my mom had been, that woman who felt only that she had somehow failed the man who loved her first-that women who did not know, could not have known, the road ahead." Most of the essays are pointedly literary and lyrical; many include meta-reflections on the nature of truth-telling, and the narrators show themselves thinking and rethinking the claims they hazard and then revise about their mothers. For the most part, the collection avoids cliché and sentimentality; equally remarkable, each one of these intimate and gut-wrenching essays reaches beyond itself to forge connections with readers. Other contributors include Alexander Chee, Melissa Febos, and Sari Botton. Moving Mother's Day reading for the fearless and brave-though some readers may want to have their therapist on speed-dial. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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