The Lives Our Mothers Leave Us, a book about mother-daughter relationships

000001857.jpgIn between blogging and exercising this summer, I've been reading chapters from a book called The Lives Our Mothers Leave Us by Patti Davis, who is the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. The book is based on the idea that mothers and daughters are inextricably linked and that, around the age of 40, most daughters come full circle in accepting the parts of themselves that were formed by their moms. She explores this realization through the stories of two dozen women, mostly actors and authors, including Whoopi Goldberg, Alice Hoffman, Judy Garland's daughter Lorna Luft, and Anna Quindlen.

As daughters, we bounce off our mothers in ways that are both mysterious and ancient. Even in anger — maybe especially then — we're tethered to them. My mother and I have never been mild with one another. Whether we were miles apart and blaming each other or strongly and lovingly bonded together, our emotions burned up the color chart. Nothing was ever gray.

It's not the most well-written book in the world, but I have found these anecdotes of how these famous daughters dealt with their mothers' imperfections to be helpful benchmarks in observing my own relationship with my mother. Davis is neither preachy nor pedantic; she's simply giving us vignettes from different women's lives, and I like that.

The Lives Our Mothers Leave Us