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Not Becoming My Mother: and Other Things She…
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Not Becoming My Mother: and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way (2009)

by Ruth Reichl

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maybe a nice long magazine article, but this 1110 page, double spaced, half sized book is a waste of trees! There is a story there but the author did not have enough resources to flesh it out. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
okay — dull memoir

Growing up in Cleveland, Miriam Brudno dreamed of becoming a doctor, like her father. But when she announced this, her parents said, “You’re no beauty, and it’s too bad you’re such an intellectual. But if you become a doctor, no man will ever marry you.” Instead, at twenty, Miriam opened a bookstore, a profession everyone agreed was suitably ladylike. She corresponded with authors all over the world, including philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, political figures such as Max Eastman, and novelists such as Christopher Marlowe. It was the happiest time of her life.
  christinejoseph | Jun 20, 2017 |
a good book to read ( )
  KimSalyers | Oct 7, 2016 |
a good book to read ( )
  KimSalyers | Oct 2, 2016 |
Ruth Reichl is a food critic, chef, food writer and the former editor of Gourmet magazine.

When Reichl was cleaning out her mother's things after her death, she came upon a box of letters that her mother had written over the years. Ruth remembered her mother as being eccentric and somewhat manic – her illogical antics were often an embarrassment to her young daughter. After her father's death, her mother was so depressed she spent several years in bed.

In between, she seemed to be searching for a life. But even a well educated, cultured young woman in the 1920's was expected to give up her job and become a housewife once she married lest people believed her husband couldn't support her. Was she actually bipolar? Or was it that her unfulfilled longings created her unrest and moodiness?

Reichl seems to believe that her mother wasn't really bipolar, but that her unfilled life caused her problems.

As someone with a bipolar offspring, I tend to believe that bipolar is a metabolic and genetic disorder. An unfilled, frustrating life wouldn't cause the condition but might well limit the coping skills to deal with it, especially at a time when the condition was not acknowledged or understood.

I found Reichl's description of life with a bipolar mother and her mother's life quite interesting, but having such a large disagreement with the author over the causes of bipolar disorder, I can't give this one more than three stars. ( )
  streamsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For you, Mom. Finally.
First words
My mother's name was Miriam, but most people called her Mim.
Quotations
"...in the end you are the only one who can make yourself happy. More important, ...it is never too late to find out how to do it."
"Growing up, I was utterly oblivious to the fact that Mom was teaching me all that. But I was instantly aware of her final lesson, which was hidden in her notes and leters. As I read them I began to understand that in the end you are the only one who can make yourself happy. More important, Mom showed me that it is never too late to find out how to do it."
And so today, when people ask, “Why do you work so hard?” I think of my mother, who was not allowed to do it, and say, “Because I can.”
”I was smart and she was pretty,” my mother always said when she spoke about her sister. “I never had the slightest doubt that as far as my parents were concerned, pretty was better.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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For You Mom, Finally is a 2010 reissue of Not Becoming My Mother.
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Chronicles the mother-daughter relationship of culinary author Ruth Reichl, now editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, and her late mother, Miriam. Miriam Brudno, who bowed to societal and familial pressure to become a wife and a mother over pursuing a fulfilling career, cheered her daughter on and pointed out that Ruth had an obligation, both to herself and to her mother, to use her life well.… (more)

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