Mother of My Mother
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