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Can Any Mother Help Me? by Jenna Bailey
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Can Any Mother Help Me? (2007)

by Jenna Bailey

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Een geheim correspondentietijdschrift. Alleen dat al.
Vrouwen die open en zonder opsmuk vertellen over de ervaringen in hun levens. Dat ook.
Eenzaamheid. De leuke en minder leuke kanten van kinderen. Liefde. Ouder worden.
Maar ook de oorlog, opeens.

Hoewel ik soms wat moeite had met de keuzes, indelingen en uitleg van de historica Jenna Bailey, is het bronmateriaal zo interessant dat ik daar overheen las. Bijzonder gewone vrouwen: heel bijzonder.
  Lotoverboeken | Jan 12, 2012 |
I enjoyed this peek into the lives of a group of women in the U.K. over the course of several decades. How fascinating it would be if I could read about the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of my own female relatives such as my grandmother or great-grandmother. After reading this collection of letters, I feel as if I know all of the women personally. This book reinforces my thought that "ordinary, average" people are often quite fascinating, that everyone has a compelling story to tell if given the opportunity or right forum, and that women especially are deep wells of experience and wisdom. ( )
  saskreader | May 20, 2011 |
I really enjoyed this book, and the idea of a correspondence magazine.

If anyone would like to participate in a related type 'magazine" for current times, please email me and let's see if we can do something similar. It would be interesting to see how this could be adapted in modern times...

Any ideas???? ( )
  owensfamily | Jul 14, 2010 |
In 1935 a mother wrote a letter to Nursery World magazine expressing boredom and frustration. The responses by others who shared these feelings led to the establishment of a group who discussed their experiences and feelings by writing pieces for a twice-monthly magazine which they circulated by post. It lasted over 50 years (for the rest of the lives of many of the members).

Jenna Bailey has selected some pieces written over the period by 11 members of the group (those who had given copyright consent for their work to be republished. The book offers a fascinating insight into the lives of some middle class women in the middle of the 20th century. I was also interested to learn that one of the women involved was Rose Hacker, who wrote a column in the Camden New Journal about her thoughts on various things, before she died at the age of 101.

I learned of this book through my own mums' support network, a website called mumsnet, and am very glad I did. ( )
  elkiedee | Jan 8, 2010 |
CAMHM is the story of the "Cooperative Correspondence Club", a home-made journal made by and circulated among a group of women in the UK from in the 1930s until 1990, when many of the members had died or were too ill to continue. The articles these women wrote for each other offer a fascinating glimpse into their lives throughout much of the 20th century. There are the big issues such as WWII, of course, but also the "smaller" personal ones, such as divorce or the illness of a child.
Jenna Bailey has grouped the women's narratives in thematic chapters such as "For Better, For Worse", "'Working' Mothers", "Hard Times" and "Growing Old", which works rather well as we meet several of the protagonists under varying circumstances. A short introduction detailing the life of each woman is provided.
The book is also fascinating from a "so near and yet so far" perspective. A lot of the -- often university-educated -- writers suffered from the fact that they were not allowed to work anymore once they got married (some of them opting for very long engagements as a result) and in most cases, it was not their husbands insisting they play housewives but their employers (or even the husbands' employers). Unthinkable now but still a reality just a couple of generations ago.
My own grandmothers were born in 1900 and 1902 respectively, and I often regret being the late child of late children, which meant losing both of them when I was nine -- far too early to ask the many questions I would love to ask them now. I knew them only as old women, and so it was doubly fascinating to read these accounts written by women of their generation from the time they were in the thirties until late in their lives.
A definite keeper since I know I will want to revisit this book in the future.
4 vote littlegreycloud | Dec 29, 2009 |
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To my mom and dad
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Ballingate, Ireland, 1935: Can any mother help me?
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Jenna Bailey has brought together this intimate and moving collection of personal stories following the lives of women throughout the 20th century.

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