Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Mother in All of Us

I received a copy of The Mother in Me, by Kathryn Lynard Soper, for my birthday last month and have been lapping up every measure of goodness ever since then. This collection of 43 essays and poems is the most well-written compilation I have ever read. It is obvious that these women, already contributing to the carefully culled Segullah, are accomplished writers. Add to that a subject matter that will hit home with all women and you have a book that will last through multiple readings and keep you coming back for more over the years.

After I read the first few essays, I thought that they stacked the best ones at the beginning, to pull in readers with the gorgeous prose and heartfelt messages. But they didn't. There were standouts throughout the book, although the first story, Forty Weeks 'til Spring by Johanna Buchert Smith, remained one of my favorites. The seasonal analogies and beautiful imagery were so enjoyable to read. The subject matter ranges from first children to last children, infertility to adoption, loss and sorrow to joy. I think there are entries to appeal to every woman. Or the many women in each of us. The stories are all written from an LDS perspective, but the doctrine does not overcome the emotion and personal faith you feel from each author.

And don't get me started on the poetry. To me, this was the biggest surprise. I don't always appreciate poetry, but there were some amazing pieces in The Mother in Me. A few favorites were No Time by Johnna Benson Cornett, East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Melonie Cannon, and Since You Were Born by Darlene Young.

Since you were born there comes sometimes at night
a sense there's something dark that I must fight
without a sword. At night, upon my chest
you and all your children's children rest.

So, here are the few things I didn't love completely. The photographs were touted as being amazing - I thought they were... eh, okay. Nothing special. But certainly not distracting from any of the writing. The only other thing was that The Mother in Me was kind of long. It doesn't seem like a long book, but there are a lot of essays. Which is good, but reading stuff like this can take a lot out of you, emotionally. And after reading the first ten or so, I was ready to take a break and read a mystery or something. It took me a long time to get through the whole book. But I really enjoyed each individual entry - I don't know what I would cut to make it shorter. I guess it's just good to know you can set it down anytime and come back to it when you're ready.

This was a fabulous book & I'm recommending it to every mother I know for their Christmas wish list. I'm even giving one myself. And I know I will be going back to my copy again to reread some of my favorites.

This post was linked up to What's on Your Nightstand at 5 Minutes for Books.


Robyn said...

Very informative review Tara. I've been on the fence whether to purchase this book. I think I may just have to add to the wishlist.

Darlene said...

Thank you so much for this fantastic review! I'm so glad you liked the book. Our best publicity is just word of mouth and women sharing what they love with each other, so I'm very grateful.