Guest Writers

Lessons From Fictional Mothers: A Guest Post From Julie Gardner

Julie C. Gardner. Looking fancy. No kids. No dogs.

Back on May 13th, I celebrated my one year blogoversary. I had it in my head to surprise the person who posted a comment closest to my original launch time with a gift card for $20 to his or her favorite bookstore. I also decided that this “gift” would come with strings attached, as I planned to ask the recipient of the reward to write a little somethin’-somethin’ about the book he or she purchased. (Seriously, how manipulative is that?) As you can imagine, depending on your perspective, this “gift” could have been considered a heinous curse. Thankfully, the fabulous Julie C. Gardner responded to my May 13, 2011 blog at 5:21 PM, and became the winner of my extra-secret super-stealth-mode-blogoversary-contest. (*Cue the paper streamers and the cheesy horn.*)

But Julie was so gracious! She was not only excited to receive my offer, she took control of it. She told me not to fuss with purchasing a book or even a gift card; she would buy the books herself. She simply asked me for a few recommendations of titles – and I shot her a check in the mail. FYI: Julie Gardner is the easiest person in the world to shop for. Ever. She is also an amazing writer. When you visit her blog, By Any Other Name, you will see what I mean. Julie gets people to confess things. She knows stuff about me that some of my friends don’t know. How does she do that?

So, thank you, Julie, for giving me the best blogoversary gift: a piece of writing, inspired by a few books that I really loved, a reminder of the love we mothers have for our sons, and a mutual appreciation for truth-telling in writing. And now, here’s Julie. Call her “Awesome.”

• • •

So I’ve been reading. A lot. And not simply because I’m an English teacher-slash-writer; or because Renée bought me a few books* to celebrate her blogoversary. (Hooray!) No, to me reading is legal procrastination. It implies I’m serious about my work; researchy, even. (I know “researchy” isn’t a word, but neither is “complainy,” and I use that one frequently. I’m an English teacher. I take liberties. With frequentiousness. Or whatever.)

Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes. Reading. A lot. More specifically, three books with a common theme:

Mother + Son = Complicated Relationship.

(That’s the only math in this post. You’re welcome.)

And now, cue the gist, with no Spoiler Alerts necessary:

First, in Emma Donoghue’s Room, five-year-old Jack and Ma are prisoners in the storage shed of their captor, a kidnapper who “fathered” the little boy. Young Jack has spent the entirety of his life inside Room believing nothing real exists Outside; until his fifth birthday when Ma decides he must attempt an escape, thereby risking a separation that’s unimaginably terrifying.

Next, Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin explores the aftermath of a Columbine-esque massacre. The story unfolds entirely in letters written by Eva (the mother of the teenaged killer) to her estranged husband, Franklin. Having nothing left to lose, Eva admits to feeling ambivalent about motherhood, horrified by Kevin’s darkness, and ultimately resigned to surviving the downfall of the family she feels unsuited to embrace.

Finally, Lisa Grunwald’s The Irresistible Henry House follows the life of an orphaned baby named Henry who is “mothered” by a series of college coeds in the (historically accurate) Practice House of a well-intentioned university’s home economics department. Abandoned by his biological mother, Henry is adopted by Martha, the childless head of the program who treats Henry as her sole reason for being. This string of disproportionate attachments hinders Henry’s ability to connect and trust as he becomes a man.

Got it? Good.

Because I spent three weeks engrossed by these mothers and sons; three weeks witnessing their disasters; three weeks during which I’d pause and think, “Crap, I’m glad this isn’t my life!”

(Except in fancier words because I am, after all, an English teacher and therefore fancy.)

Like this: Woe to these women confronting fear and loneliness and death! I can’t imagine such depths of despair!

And also this: Hope leaks from them until they lose the will to fight the loss. What have they to do with me?

(Or whatever.)

Indeed, it’s easy to compartmentalize these mothers as Fiction-Only. Such tragedy wouldn’t happen in real life. Except it did. And it does.

The unlikelihood is irrelevant; because the best novels carry us to the unexpected, the unfathomable , the extreme; while holding up a mirror and daring us to look.

Despite my comfortable “separateness” from Martha and Ma and Eva, I couldn’t help noticing similarities between these wrecked women and me. (And not merely of the “I have a son, too” variety; although I do have a son who will be fourteen next week.)

…These mothers have good intentions. Hey. I have good intentions!
…They’re redefined by the very existence of their sons. Most definitely.
…They commit themselves to their tasks; make sacrifices they question but endure; struggle with their own incidents of selfishness. All right. This is true for me, as well.
…They are, at times, disappointed by their sons. Yes. Sadly, yes.
…They have needs and desires; battle insecurity and pride; display strengths and weaknesses exacerbated by their sons. And, oh yeah, I do too.
…They learn that death is not, in fact, the worst dénouement imaginable. Because it isn’t. If you think hard, it’s not.

These three books chafed me with their honesty. Martha, Ma and Eva say what most mothers never dare to in words that made me nod and blush and fold the pages for revisiting.

Mothers do not often admit to having resentment or favorites or paralyzing regret. We foolishly expect to control our human frailties once we become parents. But then we don’t. Abandon our frailties, I mean.

In fact, our flaws announce themselves in stark relief against the backdrop of perfection we imagine.

These authors, however, tear down the backdrop and expose what parenthood – in its most distilled moments – can teach us:

That hope and love can be more difficult than loss.

But oh. We cannot ever give it up.

The hope, I mean.

And then, of course, the love.

What did you think you knew about parenting but have found yourself questioning? How has the truth of parenting been different from what you expected?

• • •

*NOTE: There is no way that Julie could have purchased all three of these books from my paltry $20. So thank you to Julie for subsidizing some of my blogoversary present. Seriously.

74 thoughts on “Lessons From Fictional Mothers: A Guest Post From Julie Gardner

  1. I had one child and raised her as a single mom. I read to her faithfully every night. We went to church and I mad sure she enjoyed the youth activities. My grown up daughter has never liked school, doesn’t enjoy reading, hates organized religion. She values education for her daughters but not for herself. Some days she disappoints me tremendously. For example, our relationship is quite strained now due to some things I wrote in my blog. She is angry with me and I am angry that she disrespects me, which I certainly didn’t teach her. I chalk it up to genes from her father and a throwback to my mother”s genes because some days she is just like my mother, with whom I didn’t get along. I’ve learned that parenting never ends and can be heartbreaking.

    1. Marie –

      My two children are in middle school, not yet adults; but I can already see that parenting them will never end (an exhausting truth, but one for which I’m grateful at this point) and yes, my heart at times has been tested by and for them. Most definitely.

      Interesting that you mention your mother’s genes because I’ve found that what has been most frustrating for me with my own children (particularly my son) are my traits that I do not like in myself.

      Unfair, but true.

      Still, in my experiences so far, the joy so far outweighs the pain.

      I hope your daughter – as a mother herself – will reach a place where she can appreciate your role in her life.

      1. Marie:

        My mother and I go at it all the time. Even tonight, she hung up on me. (Well, she wanted to. She handed the phone to my father.) I have figured out that we are each doing our best but the truth is that neither of us really gets the other one. No matter how hard we try – and Lord knows, we have tried, someone always ends up hurt.

        I am sure these interactions hurt my mother. I would be devastated if my son and I were as broken as she and I are.

        I am wishing you luck on your journey with your daughter. Maybe she is like me: trying hard to be a good wife, mother and daughter – and somehow always coming up short in her mother’s eyes.

  2. Chafed with honesty… Accepting that we are “rubbed raw” by the pain of parenting, or denying the chancres guts our relationships with children. Either way we feel like failures. And look for ways to protect ourselves from the knowledge that we could drive a car into a river with our children in tow. Acknowledging even the hint of the homicidal within scares the hell out of us. Even worse, it denies our humanity and our connection to other mothers, perhaps even our own, and ultimately our children. This is the underside of mothering.

    1. I’ve definitely had to acknowledge moments (sometimes long moments) of failure;
      in fact, I sometimes think failure is inevitable when expectations are so high…

      I was knocked off my feet by parenting, by the desire to get it right.

      And yet at every turn, with the big and small decisions, moves, instincts –
      I feared getting it wrong.

      Then, when your kids don’t behave the way you’d hoped, it’s a small confirmation that you blew it. Your one opportunity to do something extraordinary!

      Still. My children, by and large, seem to forgive my mistakes. Their capacity to love is greater than their judgment.

  3. Way to hit us with a loaded question early in the morning. Curse you for making me think!

    Looking at how my parents raised me, I always thought parenting was easy. Seeing how my neighbors treated their 4 kids, I thought, I can do this, easy peasy. What a huge slap in the face that reality check was. Parenting is NOT easy. Kids are not all the same, and not even on the same planet as I was growing up. My kids are great, and I love them to death, however they have not made my life easy. Not. At. All. I suppose that if I asked my mom and dad if they thought parenting was easy, they would have a similar answer. I guess all I can do is make my kids think that parenting is easy so they can go through what I am going through. That must be the number one rule of parenting, “You don’t talk about parenting (to kids)”.

    1. This made me laugh! I love the idea of making the whole parenting gig look “easy” so your kids will willingly embrace the challenge – excellent plan…

      I suppose it’s a great compliment to so many generations of parents that their children grow up and have kids of their own.

      Maybe we’re not doing such a terrible job after all!

      (shhh…don’t tell the kids this is hard. and don’t ever let them see you sweat. something like that.)

      1. Somehow I think the parenting gig was easier when our parents were doing it. Now there are so many voices telling us all the time how to do it. My mother always said, when I was young there was one book: Dr. Spock. And even then, you picked and chose what seemed right.

        I have to admit, I do tell Monkey that he did not come with a manual, unlike most of his gadgets, so sometimes I am winging it. Again, he is a forgiving soul when I blow it.

        In those moments, I tell him that those pages of the manual must have been left in the hospital.

  4. 33 years as high school teacher kept me hip to changing times and the mood and understandings of teens in those decades. It made me part 17 year old. Kept me part 17 year old. That reduced the gap between children and enabled my children to see me as friend and confidant and contemporary. Discourse was more fluent and agreement more frequent than it would have been pure parent/child relationship.

    1. Carl –

      My father was a teacher, and my mother also worked at my high school as a paraprofessional. I agree this gave them not only insight but perspective while raising my sister and me.

      I followed suit and taught high school English for 16 years. I hope that by the time my children are teenagers I haven’t “forgotten what it’s like.”

      (Do they kids still say “groovy” these days?)

    2. My son is trying to get “Beast” to be the positive adjective of the day.

      As in, “Did you see that cannonball into the pool? It was so beast.”

      I keep telling him it’s a noun.

      Kids and their parts of speech.

      1. I was going to comment about that in my intro. You know, how you got all naked for me. 😉 But seriously, I was the big winner today.

        Hopefully, my readers will head over to your blog and read your stuff. Especially about your thoughts on Botox and going Brazilian… and everything in between. Thank you for the best Blogoversary present ever. And please, cash the check. Seriously.

        Don’t make me Search Bomb you. 😉

  5. “In fact, our flaws announce themselves in stark relief against the backdrop of perfection we imagine.”

    That line which I stole from you, answers the question you posed.

    Because it is true and you say it so much better than I ever could.

    Now, I really want to read all 3 of those books.

    I did not, for a minute, imagine that you were naked in that picture.

    I swear.


      1. All three of these books are dynamite. I think Julie can vouch, you will not be able to put them down. If you are in a book club or just like to read, just pick one. You can’t lose.

        You might not sleep, but you will be amazed by the writing.

  6. I think I am learning that what appears on the outside of the house is often not what is going on in the inside. There are a lot more flaws inside.

    1. Oh, Marianne.

      THAT is true true true.

      We never really know what goes on in someone else’s family; in someone else’s mind and heart.

      I suppose this is because we want others to see only the best; which is understandable but also misleading.

      1. It’s why we are surprised when we learn people who “Seemed so happy” are getting divorced. Or why – when the guy who has been burying people under his house gets caught – people always say, “He seemed like such a nice chap.” We never really know what’s going on.

  7. “Julie C. Gardner. Looking fancy. No kids. No dogs.” and no clothes!!
    I never believed parenting would be easy. My mom and dad were and are incredible parents, and I, although seemingly a pretty good kid, was not always good and most certainly hardly ever incredible when it came to behavior. With knowledge of all my shenanigans of the past behind my parents’ backs while being given their complete trust, I knew parenting would be tricky to say the least. My comments could go on longer than your post, so I’ll stop now before I embarrass (I mean share) myself anymore.
    I would never have thought my boys would be so different, but I love them the same (with unending appreciation for who they are and will be).

    1. Stu –

      I love that phrase: With unending appreciation for who they are and will be.

      I agree that I never thought parenting would be “easy” – there are enough messages out there telling us it’s hard.

      But the ways in which it is a challenge, I think, remain somewhat of a mystery until you’re actually doing it.

      And even then, with each child, the challenge is different.

      But worth it always. Indeed.

  8. Really, how does Julie get us to confess things? My problem is that I say the stuff that shouldn’t be said in public right on her blog in the comments.

    I try to keep my reading a bit lighter than most, Letters to Penthouse wins out over mother/son dealing with death.

    Actually, one of the most recent novels I read was Gemma, by Meg Tilly . . . as the father of a little girl, it just reminded me that people are messed up.

    1. John –

      Yeah. These books weren’t light. But they WERE pretty awesome. Still, I love that I met you because of our mutual love of reading off-beat literature.

      Not so much Penthouse…but Chris Moore? Good stuff.

      Still, most people are probably at least a little messed up.
      So I’m not afraid of Gemma. Or Meg Tilly.


      1. John, so you are a confessor, too? How does she get us to do that? Seriously? I mean she tells us her most embarrassing stories so we feel like we can just post ours, too. I like your line:

        “I try to keep my reading a bit lighter than most, Letters to Penthouse wins out over mother/son dealing with death.”

        My next book is going to be Vanna White’s autobiography. That had better be light. 😉

  9. I worked with a High Risk Youth program for a decade and have at least a dozen kids who still call me MOM. Most of them have children now and most are good parents. Some, however, have fallen into destructive patterns of behavior that seem horribly predetermined by nature and nurturing that was lost when they needed it most. I never expected to feel like a parent to so many children who do not share my genetics. Yet, I find they all invade my heart at the same level my daughter and granddaughter do. I accept a few truths: I will never stop trying. I will never stop loving. I will not always succeed. I will never stop hoping that they all will find peace and love.

    1. Teresa –

      “I will never stop trying. I will never stop loving. I will not always succeed. I will never stop hoping that they all will find peace and love.”

      THAT is beautiful.

      What lucky people to have you in their lives…to be able to call you Mom.

  10. I still don’t know how my mom did it and she had twice as many kids, twice as many jobs, and twice the mess to clean up afterwards. I’m starting to think she didn’t start sleeping until my baby sister graduated and moved to college. Except now she doesn’t sleep because we are all old enough to get into adult-sized shenanigans.

    Great guest spot, ladies!

    1. Jess –

      Adult-sized shenanigans? Oh no! I hadn’t even thought about that…

      (and also, why aren’t I engaged in any?)

      We must meet up to compose a game plan to handle our own kids and also to get into more trouble ourselves.


  11. What a wonderful post, both the glowing review of the author and the book reviews! You really selected some fascinating titles to explore motherhood in various situations. Room sounds really eerie. I’m not a mother yet, but I don’t think that would be an easy read for anyone.

    Julie, you really selected some strong themes and commonalities from these books. Thank you for doing researchy things like this and sharing your thoughts on these really interesting books.

    1. Thanks so much, Jess.

      The commonalities reared their heads all on their own (completely coincidental, and fortuitous – which is RARE!) and I loved them all…

      …even Room which was eerie, but VERY interesting. I highly recommend it – like nothing else I’ve ever read.

      And I’m researchy, as you now know…

      1. Julie, I’m so glad that you liked all of the books… but let’s be clear. As the winner, you were SUPPOSED to cash the check. No fair framing it or just leaving it your wallet forever.

        You have to cash it to really win.

        Seriously. 😉

  12. Every time I read one of your posts, I’m insanely jealous by how great you write. (but not bitter… just jealous in a “i still love ya” way). 🙂

    Anyway, I had no idea how impatient I’d be. Not just the “hurry up” type of impatient but the exasperation when things aren’t going right. I don’t even know if that makes sense. I work on it daily but on days like today, I’m just mentally spent. Of course, then those little kidlets smile at me and it all goes away (until tomorrow).

    1. Oh Melissa –

      You don’t know this, but you are responsible for the single coolest moment of my whole blogging/twitter life so far…

      It was months ago, but I was logging onto Twitter (and already following you although you weren’t following me yet) and your tweet said something along these lines:

      I don’t know if this person is on Twitter by I loved this post….with a link. So of course, I clicked it because I thought you were awesome and wanted to see who YOU thought was interesting enough to tweet about…

      And it was my blog.

      I got goosebumps. Pretty sure they’re still there. It was surreal and so wonderful and such a tribute to the weird, crazy, small-world events in the twitter/blogosphere.

      So thank you forever for that.

      I know this reply had nothing to do with this post, but I had to tell you.

      Seriously the coolest moment ever.

      XOXO always.

  13. I’ve been intrigued by all three of these books for awhile. After your extraordinary reviews, I’m picking them up for vacation next week.

    And you know, I think mothering has been my most fulfilling role, yet it’s the one role that keeps me awake the most at night, wondering if I’m getting it right. I just close my eyes and pray…a lot.

    1. Yes, Joann. Exactly.

      It’s the most fulfilling and terrifying role…in ways you can’t know until you’re in the thick of it.

      I love reading about your mothering; your daughters are insanely lucky to have you (and I know you feel lucky to have them).

      We come into each other’s lives for a reason, no?

      In any case, have a great vacation and you won’t regret picking up these books.


      (and thanks for your support from the beginning. you are a MOST fabulous friend.)

      p.s. Can’t wait to read about the vacation. Don’t forget the blow dryer…

      1. Dear Joann:

        I always say my hardest day as a teacher never comes close to touching my hardest day as a stay-at-mom mother. Sometimes the days can be positively, mind-numbingly boring.

        But now that my Monkey is entering 7th grade, I am starting to hear my mother’s voice telling me about how fast the years go. Time is whispering in my ear. I am forgetting things I never thought possible.

  14. To be snarky or not to be snarky…

    Here are two things I didn’t expect to learn:
    *that I’m absolutely lovable when my hair looks like crap, when I’ve lost my stick of deodorant, when I mess up big time.
    *that laughter covers a lot of failings.

    (And Room has been on my must-read list for a while!)

    1. Leanne –

      Always go snarky. You don’t even have to ask. (Also researchy and complainy work. At least in my book.)

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you’ve learned and what your twins teach me through you.
      all the time.

      And as for books, Room will not disappoint.

      Plus, we should talk after you read it. For real.

  15. Julie, first let me say that you are WAY smart. What a thoughtful, thought-provoking post – I mean, how DARE you provoke me to thought! But ah yes, parenthood. Not at all what I imagined. The highs are so much higher. And of course, the lows. There are always the lows. But that’s what the blogosphere is there for, right?

    1. Tarja –

      Thank you so much (such a lovely compliment from one of the SMARTEST bloggers I follow!)

      You, of the adorable chalupa and the new side dish on the way, are in for even more highs…

      …dare I say of the highest kind?
      (because I’m fancy.)

      And yes. Thank heavens also for the blogosphere for when you’re facing the rest of it.

      Our reminder that that we are human.
      And loved.

      1. The lows are hard to admit. Scary, too. All the women’s magazines are about how to get your man, please your man. Not too much about what to do once you got your man, the house, the kids and you are feeling like you could take the kitchen knife and do something dark.

        Luckily, for most of us, we find our way. We find some inner reserve that says, “Just cut the onions and step away from the knife.” If you are me, you add the sentence, “Now take the knife and rinse it and put it in the dishwasher.” You know, to add a few extra degrees of separation.

        I can’t wait to come and visit your blog. When Julie raves like that, well… Julie has great followers. 😉

  16. Great picture!

    That was so the comment you wanted to read after your literary synopsis, huh? I’m shallow like that. But when I read your equation, I thought, “She purchased Oedipus with the money?”

    I escape in things like Georgette Heyer so I may not be worthy to produce a comment of my own.

    1. Jennie –

      You are forgiven. Especially since my first thought when I read your latest post was this:

      “She LOST weight when she was pregnant?”

      Indeed. Sometimes, we are captivated by the surfaces of things.


      p.s. You should see some of the books on my nightstand. It’s not all literature. Cough.

  17. Okay, first off, Julie is amazing. The talent is simply stunning.

    Brillfastic. (I’m also an English teacher).

    Secondly, confession time. How about the constant fear that my sons will discover all my flaws and reject me? That I would rather read a book than listen to them more often than not?

    1. Hi Nancy C:

      i love how many English teachers are in the blogosphere. It makes sense, really – since there are so many wonderful blogs that read like short essays! It is nice to meet you.

      I have been dealing with the rejection piece a bit lately. My Monkey is turning 12 and he is more interested in his dad. It happened suddenly. For so long I wanted him to get off my leg, my lap, stop hanging on me… and one day, he did. And now I am missing him. This is partly how Julie and I stumbled onto this topic with these books, I have been reading books about mothers and sons to feel less alone. It is nice to know that it is developmental. I’m trying not to take it too personally.

      1. Renee –

        Isn’t it crazy how we long for space…and then, when our children begin to separate, to have lives and preferences beyond us, it is ummmm mildly devastating?

        And also freeing.

        But mostly really, really hard. As the mother to an almost 12 and 14 year old, I am both relishing and fearful of their new-found independence.

        I left them at home tonight for three hours to attend a party and was mildly devastated that they didn’t text me or call or anything. For three hours. They were fine.

        good news and bad news. freedom and loss.


    2. Nancy –

      You know how much I admire your writing, so this praise is both appreciated and APPRECIATED. (and now, I’m blushing.)

      My confession (that didn’t make it into this post) is the number of hours I spend lying awake at night worrying…about big things and small. But mostly probably (in daylight hours) small.

      This parenting gig is so difficult if we care to do it right.

      I’m glad I’m not alone in this complicated journey – and Renee, if you haven’t read Nancy before, do.

      You won’t regret it.

  18. These books jumped out at me immediately when you said they had to do with mothers and sons. I have two sons. No daughters. I love reading about the mother & son relationship. I will definitely look for these books!

    1. They are fabulous and scary. Be warned; you will find yourself thinking about them and wondering about yourself – about what you would do if you found yourself in situations such as these. If you read them come back and tell me what you thought! I’m serious! I still really NEED to talk about Kevin!

    2. Kelley –

      Not only are these great books, but I recommend you get them at Barnes & Nobel along with a few hot chocolates…I know how that usually goes for you and your boys 😉

      It’s not “light” summer reading, but these books will definitely not disappoint.

  19. There are times .JDaniel really doesn’t like me. He hates it when our decisions don’t mesh. He would like it his way.

    1. I think loving and and liking are definitely two different feelings…I will love my children for every minute of their lives as long as there is breath in me.

      Yet sometimes I don’t want to be in the same room with them.

      Of course, mine are older than JDaniel and have had more time to test my patience…

      but also to show me I couldn’t live without them.

      1. Dear Suniverse:

        I understand what you are saying, too. I am trying so hard not to repeat mistakes. I am trying so hard to be better. To change things. But what if my child is still wounded? These books are hard to read, but also beautifully crafted. If you love great literature, avoid KEVIN and check out HENRY HOUSE. It is just so interesting to know that these “Practice Houses” existed at one time in colleges across the country. I found that fascinating. 😉 Nice to meet you.

  20. Wow. I thought you just wrote funny things about waxing. This sounds like you smart person be.

    I went into parenting thinking I knew nothing about it and have since realized I knew far less than that. Holy hell, it’s hard. Humbling. Every day. But I think kids realize that. Mine haven’t given up on me yet.

    Seriously, Julie, this was terrific.

    1. Thanks so much for the praise, Chase.

      It means a lot coming from you, someone whose writing I respect a lot.
      (and who is also funny; so cheers to versatility, right?)

      Yes, my kids still wake up every morning happy to see me. It’s a miracle and I’ll take it. For as long as they’re giving it away…

      1. Der Chase (& Julie): The smartest people are the funny people. I think that is why I keep gravitating to you funny folk. You have the sense to keep things light, to find the light when those terrible dark clouds are everywhere. I love that about both of you. I’m trying to diversify my blogroll, but I keep coming back to the people who make me laugh. I am grateful to Julie for being such an amazingly versatile writer so she was able to switch it up for this post. But then, I found her at julienancy, so I knew she had it in her. 😉

  21. Amazing Post!!! I read We Need To Talk About Kevin when I was pregnant …with my son…I was very very worried. Thankfully I then read another book where there was an albino murderer so then I worried about my son being albino.

    1. Tonya –

      Lady, you always crack. me. up. I hope everything worked out on the albino front (you’ve never mentioned melanin as an issue in your posts, so I’m assuming…)

      The moral: Don’t read when you’re pregnant.

  22. So much truth in this. I don’t even know where to begin. Moving–SO moving. I don’t have a son, but as a mother, as a writer, as a reader–YES. Beautifully said. I’m half terrified to read these stories, but I must, I think.

    1. Carol –

      I’m SO glad you came and commented ~ my book-review goddess…You have such a way with describing what you’ve read without giving away the heart of it; making me want to hurry to get my hands on the book you just finished but still discover it for myself.

      These books are haunting; but worth the ghosts.

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