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Letters to My Daughters
by Mary Matalin
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743256085, Hardcover)Mary Matalin, the media savvy Republican strategist for two Bushes and one Cheney, switches to mama bear mode in a series of letters intended as a legacy for her two preteen daughters. Her advice reflects on formative experiences--losing her mother at age 26, working in the White House, marrying a soul mate from another political planet (high profile Democrat James Carville), and surviving Hurricane Isabel. Each letter's theme is reflected in her greeting. For example, "Dear hormone handmaidens" gives equal time to menses and menopause," Dear lovelies" focuses on how not to become a dieter or fashion victim and "Dear unfortunate carriers of the Matalin DNA," acknowledges anxiety (hers and theirs). Matalin is at her best when translating family or political lessons in her own terms including her mother's quiet faith, her brother Stevie's gallant response to his bicycle accident and the climate of loyalty in Bush's White House. Her love for her daughters is wonderfully ferocious and funny--full of mom sound bites. After promising not to spy or pry she warns: "But from a distance, I'll be keeping track of you like a rat on a cheeto."
Matalin's engaging and wise counsel alternates with advice flawed by her insistence on gender typecasting and the stale idea that "what defines us is ungettable by the other sex." This problem is magnified by the grating coarseness of her view of men. When Matalin tells her daughters, "Boys would screw a snake if it would lay still long enough," readers may wonder whether she intended these letters as keepsake for her daughters--or as a best seller for a wider audience. --Barbara Mackoff
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:27 -0400)
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