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on January 24, 2004
Several years ago, Hope Edelman wrote a book that was supposed to help women deal with the loss of a mother. She did this so that other women would not have to go through the ordeal she did. Specifically, the ordeal of not having an adequate reference for dealing with such a tragedy.
Her efforts resulted in the widely popular Motherless Daughters.
With the publication of the book came a flood of letters from women who wanted to share their own experiences with Edelman.
In response, Edelman has compiled many of these letters into the compact Letters from Motherless Daughters. The purpose of this book is to show the many ways in which women have come to deal with their tragic losses.
After reading letter upon letter, I too realized something that she claimed she was at first unaware of: one never gets over the loss of an important person. All one can do is either choose to mourn and dwell on the past, or choose to grow from the loss and continue on with life.
Many of the letters are poignant, while others are heart-wrenching. Yet others display a true sense of courage, while some reflect the confusion and agony that has invaded the daughter's life.
Reading such letters is beneficial to a certain degree--they open one's eyes to the bitter reality of dealing with death, and they allow one to see that others have also experiences similar feelings.
Although these letters do serve a crucial purpose, they are only letters. Nothing can truly dissipate the trauma of enduring the loss of a mother--it is something that no one can ever be fully prepaired for.
Letters from Motherless Daughters is a book whose value has to be discovered by the person reading it.
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on August 23, 1998
This book did not meet my needs for comfort or answers as to how to deal with my feelings. My mother died nine weeks ago, and I was hoping to find letters from other women feeling the same things that I am right now. Most of these letters seemed to be from women whose mothers had died many years ago and alot of them sounded as if they didn't get along with their mother. I would not recommend this book to other women dealing with new loss of a much-loved mother.
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on May 12, 1999
This is definitely required reading for motherless daughters, but it is somewhat flawed. Edelman concentrates too much on the memoirs of teenage and young adult motherless daughters. She doesn't ignore the younger motherless child, but it is obvious that these daughers neither responded to her questionnaire or to her request for interviews. I read it and its sequel last evening. Our mother died in 1954, our father died in 1962, and I'd always thought my sisters and I were unique. We take for granted that if one of us is out of touch for more than five minutes, she's assumed "dead in a ditch somewhere." Two of us were conviced we would die at age 47, the age our mother was when she died. Only one of us is married; none of us had children, despite securing promises from one another all through our girlhood that we'd raise each other's children. We were convinced that if we became mothers, one of us or all of us wouldn't live to raise our children and we couldn't bear to impose on any child the same sort of childhood we'd had. Thanks to Hope Edelman, now I realize we're hardly unique, just garden variety motherless daughters who were orphaned between the ages of 7 and 13. In one of the "types" she details, I was flabbergasted by how accurately my own life was portrayed on the page. It'd be more interesting if there were more samples from older women who were orphaned before the age of 13. Certainly the sequel "Letters,..." is mostly from women who lost mothers in their 20s, probably because those were the people who wrote to Edelman after "Motherless Daughters..." first came out. No one's life is perfect. Daughters with very alive mothers can be worse off and often are. Having a mother doesn't guarantee an easier life story; you just believe it would be easier. That's self-pity. Edelman is caught up in post-modern psychologizing and therapy-speak which revels needlessly in self-pity. The real value of "Motherless Daughers..." is letting adults who were motherless children discover that they've been coping all these years in fairly predictable ways.
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on January 11, 2004
I think that the book offered many perspectives on what motherless daughters are going through, and a lot of these I could relate to in some way. Some of the letters just hit too close to home so to speak and made me really sad. I missed my mom more while reading the book, but after I felt relieved. It's a must read for motherless girls/women; very therapeutic.
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on May 17, 1998
A friend bought me this book for my birthday three years ago. At first I flipped from letter to letter that related to me and then one night I read it from cover to cover. I have never cried and laughed so much. It was like opening a door that I kept closed for so long. I was so relieved that some of the feeling I have had are also felt by others. That I am not alone. Since the birth of my first child I have missed her tremendously more. She is not hear to see my accoplishmenst as well as my sons. Now I have a new baby and it begins again. My sister just had her first child and I gave her the book during her pregnancy I knew from the book she was about to take the same journey. She was just 3 when our mom passed on. And feels guilty for not remembering her. The book has helped her realize she too is not alone. Your book was wonderful..... and enlightening. My sister and I can now hopefully move on in our long step in the grieving process. Thank you.
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on November 17, 1998
I am "Barbara" in "Letters From Motherless Daughters". Reading this book and Hope's previous book was quite cathartic for me, knowing that others have the same feelings and have dealt with the same issues. This book was published two months before my father's massive heart attack and death, three months after that. I'm so glad he got to see this book; it meant a lot to him as well. He also enjoyed the first book; after reading it, he went out and bought a duplicate copy for my sister. Now that both my parents are gone, I'd like to see Hope write a companion volume, "Fatherless Daughters". I'd also like to see books written from a son's perspective as well.
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on October 11, 2013
Again this book helped me so much in my continued pain over losing my mother 40 years ago. In relating to other motherless daughters I am able to take a different perspective on life and the hand I was dealt at 14 years of age.
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on April 10, 1998
It will be 12 years in Aug since my mother died of cancer. I was in denial for a couple of years. I could not speak her name or hear her name, even though I wanted so badly to talk about her, without going into a crying jag. I was 20 and had to go through very important events and stages in my life without my mother. About 4 years ago my mother-in-law gave me a book Motherless Daughters. I think I cried through the whole book. It has been a very important part of my healing process. I am not alone and I am not crazy! Not a day goes by that I don't think about Mom and the love she had for me. She is my guardian angel.
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on October 9, 2001
I lost my mother at age nine to cancer and spent the years after looking for a way to communicate with others who felt the same pain I did. When I was 16, I decided to look for books on the subject. I came across this book, amongst a few others; this was by far the most helpful. The way the book is organized by how many years have passed since the death is very helpful...I could see where I WAS, where I AM, and where I MAY be in a few years. It is interesting to see how your grief is or is not like that of the women in the book. Check this book out, it may really help you...I only wished it were longer!
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on August 15, 2003
This book allowed me to work through much of my grief after my mother unexpectedly died. The raw pain of many of these women coming through the pages made me profoundly sad, yet grateful that there were so many others feeling like me. I feel like all of us motherless daughters share a life-altering experience, and the connections I have made with strangers (from the woman on customer service line of my mother's insurance provider to the florist) bolster that feeling. The letters written by women who lost their mothers many years prior were particularly helpful to me. I am relieved to know what to expect.
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