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In this way, the book exposes how fathers get let off easy.It’s not that the authors aren’t angry at their fathers. But our culture doesn’t hold fathers up to the same impossible standards to which we hold our mothers.His inability to see this before she died clouded their relationship, leaving Taylor to wish now that he had gotten to know her better, wish he “had tried harder.
“Mothers are idealized as protectors: a person who is caring and giving and who builds a person up rather than knocking them down,” Filgate writes in her introduction to The essay collection explores all of the ways that mothers can and do fail to live up to this often unattainable societal expectation.
It breaks the taboo around discussing the way that our families may not have conformed to the standard set forth and upheld by a long-shared tradition.
That was Filgate’s goal in putting together the book.
“My hope for this book is that it will serve as a beacon for anyone who has ever felt incapable of speaking their truth or their mother’s truth,” Filgate writes.
Hanauer is frustrated with her father, but more than that, she’s frustrated with her mother for letting him get away with it.
Despite her father’s “temper and volatility, narcissism, need to control and dominate,” she admits that he is “intelligent, sometimes funny, and up on everything.” Of course, people are complicated, and it is fair for Hanauer to acknowledge that, but at the same time, she seems to allow much more room for her father to be complicated than for her mother.The book cracks open our expectations, asking us why we let ourselves be blinded by the myth of the mother so much that we can’t see our mothers as people—as complicated and varied as the rest of us.Despite all the millions of sweet pastel greeting cards that will be sold this week, Mother's Day can call up mixed feelings.A common theme in the accompanying comment was how she had emboldened others to talk about the complexities of their own maternal relationships.Now, a new essay collection of the same name edited by Filgate has invited those ideas to be fleshed out, collectively taking aim at the cultural narrative that circumscribes the role of the maternal parent.Our relationships with our mothers are in many ways the closest ones we ever have, but they're rarely simple.The many knots in the mother-child bond are the subject of the new essay collection The anthology was edited by Michele Filgate, who also wrote the title essay.Cathi Hanauer—herself an editor of a collection of essays, the New York Times best-selling describes the domineering behavior of her father.She recalls how he refused to allow Hanauer to speak to her mother alone on the phone, how he would answer for her mother even when Hanauer asked a question he couldn’t answer about something like pregnancy or her mother’s blueberry tart recipe, and if he didn’t have anything to say he would react loudly to whatever was on TV until they included him again.It first appeared on Longreads in 2017 and produced a torrent of responses from readers, many of whom shared their own stories.Filgate (who's also a book critic with whom I have a professional acquaintance) says it took her more than a decade to write the essay, and its subject matter makes clear why.