Publisher: Delta (April 11, 2000)

Pages: 288

ISBN: 978-0385317993

In this compelling new work, Edelman explores another complex, life-changing relationship, the intricate bond between generations.


I was blessed to have a maternal grandmother who was a central character of my childhood. She was loving, and colorful, and intense, and eccentric, and I can’t imagine having grown up without her constant presence. Her house was about a half-hour drive from ours. She came over several times a week, and we spent nearly every holiday with her and her large extended family. When I finished writing about my relationship with my mother, it felt natural to then look back another generation and think about my grandmother, and how my relationship with her — which lasted until I was in my 30s — also influenced me.

When writing Motherless Daughters, I’d met quite a few women who’d been raised by grandmothers after their mothers died, and I was interested in their stories. I also knew a number of women who’d been raised by mother-grandmother pairs following their parents’ divorces, and I was curious about how this had impacted them. Usually, I discovered, it was to their benefit to have had two maternal figures in the home. Grandmothers, I discovered, were lead players in many women’s childhoods.

Writing about my maternal grandmother made me also think a lot about my father’s mother, with whom I’d been very close but who died when I was nine. I’d also moved out to Los Angeles, not far from my sister, about the time I started writing the book and my first daughter was born when I was in the middle, so I felt surrounded by female energy the whole time I was writing it.


Mother of My Mother is as personal a work as Motherless Daughters, beautifully written as memoir.”
San Francisco Examiner

“Hope Edelman is a gifted wordsmith and a reliable reporter. Well-developed theories on the ways grandmothers shape a young woman’s identity. Fans of Edelman’s work will certainly find much of the material interesting and beautifully presented.”
USA Today

“Edelman is at her best illuminating the complexity of girls’ and women’s feelings toward their mothers and grandmothers… [Her] good intentions and insights make this a worthwhile read for any woman who has ever viewed her family dynamic as both minefield and saving grace.”
— Publishers Weekly