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Eye of My Heart: 27 Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother Paperback – Bargain Price, April 6, 2010


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Eye of My Heart: 27 Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother + GrandLoving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren + The Grandparents Handbook
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; 1 edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061474169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061474163
  • ASIN: B004HB1D3G
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Women who have achieved grandmotherly status will appreciate this engaging, honest volume of essays by 26 writers who articulate shared emotions about their grandchildren. All describe a new form of love different from the love they felt for their own children. Editor Graham (Women Who Run with the Poodles) calls it a besotted state. For some contributors, grandmotherhood is a promise of genetic continuity, while others value the freedom to play and indulge. Many essays may be sentimental, but they're also insightful and candid, sometimes painfully so. Notably, one pseudonymous writer lashes out at her cruelly withholding daughter-in-law; another describes raising her mentally disturbed daughter's unstable son. Perhaps most disturbingly, Sallie Tisdale portrays a dire situation created by her financially irresponsible adopted son and his girlfriend, who keep producing more children. Yet humor abounds. In an irreverent piece, Abigail Thomas writes of fleeing a clan reunion by scheduling an appointment with her gynecologist. Judith Viorst confronts the taboo topic of jockeying for love with the other set of grandparents. All learn the lesson best expressed by Anne Roiphe: Seal your lips. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“So many different perspectives and vantage points are woven seamlessly that no matter what their personal relationship to the word ‘grandmother’ is, readers will find much to make them laugh out loud—and also to break their hearts.” (Christian Science Monitor )

“Spry and unsentimental. . . . Truth telling with dollops of love.” (O magazine )

“In illuminating, unsentimental essays, 27 writers offer up insights on the tricky art of grandmothering.” (People )

“Insightful and candid, sometimes painfully so. . . . Women who have achieved grandmotherly status will appreciate this engaging, honest volume of essays by 26 writers who articulate shared emotions about their grandchildren.” (Publishers Weekly )

More About the Author

Barbara Graham is an essayist, playwright, and author who has written for Time; O, The Oprah Magazine; Glamour; More; National Geographic Traveler; and Vogue. She is a columnist for Grandparents.com and has two granddaughters.

Customer Reviews

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I intend to give this book as a gift to all my friends who are new grandmothers!
Dianne Decker
One of the essayist put it correctly by saying that it is like being a teenager in love.
Pamela W. Wooddell
EYE OF MY HEART is a book of essays written by grandmothers, about being a grandmother.
Martha Dickinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Pamela M. Barger on April 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a grandmother who thought parenting was behind her, I find myself (and my husband) getting AARP mailings along with "Highlights" magazines and requests for parent-teacher conferences. Yes, by necessity, we've adopted our grandson. So the last thing I want to read about grandparenting is sentimental cliche. Of course being a grandma has its joys, and I certainly want that too. But this is the first time I've read anything close to The Real Experience. That's because the experiences documented in this book are as varied as the women who wrote them. Absolutely readable... Loved it!
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Martha Dickinson on April 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book pretty much totally broke my heart, in a good way.

EYE OF MY HEART is a book of essays written by grandmothers, about being a grandmother. All kinds of grandmothers are represented here, and so many of the essays touched me.

Though the stories are all different, there are a lot of common themes. One is how, as a grandparent, it is very difficult to love someone - your grandchild - so much, and yet have so little control over how much you see that person, or what their life is like. Barbara Graham, the editor of this collection, wrote about her son's family moving away to Paris, and the injustice of it all almost made me cry. Also, two of the essays were published anonymously, and these especially brought issue of lack of control home for me. One is written by a woman whose son's girlfriend refuses to practice birth control and so they have baby after baby while trying to live on welfare yet somehow buy brand new TVs. Another was written by a woman whose granddaughter - to whom her access is restricted by her daughter-in-law's wishes - attempts suicide.

Another repeated thought how much less perfection is expected of oneself as a grandparent as opposed to being a parent. This quote from Beverly Donofrio's essay (despite the God business) sort of rocked my world: "I lay down, too, listening to my grandson's breathing, thinking about God and humility. I was not perfect; it was arrogant and self-centered to think I should be. I thought about how God loves me just the way I am - so maybe I should, too? It's my own self-judgement that gets in the way." I have always been a perfectionist, and I suspect that would make any attempt I made at motherhood far more difficult than it needed to be.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Carl Lehmann Haupt on April 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
These lovely essays are not only great reads. They can serve as an operating manual, alerting you to the pitfalls, sand traps, minefields and other hazardous border crossings you'll have to make as you enter the most piercingly tender relationship we'll probably ever know. If you're not a grandparent yet (it works for grandfathers too) you can find out what your willy-nilly getting into; if you're already there you'll understand why you suffer or are superbly happy, sometimes in the same minute or two.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Martha B. Horne on April 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I recommend this book which presents realistic essays on contemporary grandparenting by 27 well known, excellent writers. The book is also delightful reading. It is a very welcome addition to the sparse "literature" on grandparenting - not frilly suggestions about coloring doilies with the grandkids, nor bulleted, superficial "how to's." These are real stories about real people giving us insight into the "why am's & why are's" rather than the "how to" aspects of the role. For example, "Why am I confused about this role? I remember my grandmother knowing just how to play it so well."

[...]
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Donne Davis on April 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book will get you thinking about your role as a grandmother. I've read more than two-dozen books on grandparenting and nothing compares to this collection. It's the most honest and deeply profound exploration of grandmotherhood I've ever read. I savored every story and often stopped to ponder thought-provoking lines that deeply resonated with me.

After finishing the book, I felt as if 27 new friends had just bared their souls to me, each giving deep thought to their role as a grandmother. I scrawled marks and notes on almost every page as I reacted to the familiar emotions that these articulate writers shared about becoming grandmothers: their role models, their relationships with the parents of their grandchildren, and what they hoped to pass on to their grandchildren. They explored and examined their deepest feelings about the bond they have with their grandchildren, and boldly wrote about aging.

Some were laugh-out-loud stories, like Judith Viorst's on competing with the other grandma and Judith Guest's hilarious road trip with her three granddaughters. Some were heartbreaking: Sallie Tisdale wrote a sad tale of too many grandchildren in a broken family and Marcie Fitzgerald (a pseudonym) is now her grandson's parent because her bipolar daughter is unable to care for him. Others were sweet and touching: At sixty Virginia Ironside finally gave up her search for Mr. Right and discovered what she truly wanted: to be a granny. Letty Cottin Pogrebin wrote of her obsession with creating lifelong memories for her six grandchildren because she has so few memories of her own.

These are fascinating, entertaining, revealing and boldly told tales from the 'hood - grandmotherhood.
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