Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Hooray for Mother's Day
Moms come in all shapes and sizes: tall, short, thrifty, generous, giddy, gutsy, critical and kind. They’re bakers and bankers and jills-of-all-trades. In recognition and celebration of maternal diversity and mothers everywhere, I’d like to recommend a trio of books about remarkable women and their equally remarkable offspring. First is Lifesaving Lessons: Notes from an Accidental Mother by Linda Greenlaw. Some readers may know Greenlaw from her previous books, The Hungry Ocean and The Lobster Chronicles. The New York Times bestselling author is a no-nonsense New Englander AND the only female sword fish boat captain in the country. When Notes opens Greenlaw is forty-something, unmarried, and resigned to a life of solitude on Isle au Haut (population 47). She rises to an unexpected challenge when fate delivers Mariah, an abused 14-year-old girl, to her doorstep. Greenlaw not only offers Mariah temporary sanctuary, but also assumes legal guardianship for the troubled teen. It’s a feel-good story, unsentimentally told, about a how woman with a passion for fishing learns to embrace change.
Conflict is at the heart of Mira Bartok’s The Memory Palace. Bartok’s mother, Nora, is a gifted pianist who suffers from schizophrenia. Nora’s frequent psychotic episodes turn Bartok’s childhood into a nightmare. Thwarted in their efforts to find medical and legal help for Nora, Mira and her sister forge new identities to protect themselves from their mother's intense, irrational love. The haunting account ends with Mira and Nora reunited, although reconciliation comes at great cost.
In The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius, local author Kristine Barnett writes about raising her son, Jacob, a boy with a photographic memory and an IQ higher than Albert Einstein’s. Defying experts, Barnett encourages autistic Jacob to pursue his passion for astrophysics. Publishers Weekly calls The Spark an “eloquent memoir about an extraordinary boy and a resilient and remarkable mother [that] will be of interest to every parent and/or educator hoping to nurture a child’s authentic ‘spark’”.