Mother and daughter: for both members, it's a long and complicated relationship. With today's increased longevity has come the growth of the "sandwich generation": baby boomers who are caring for both their aging parents and their own young children. What does this mean for the mother-daughter relationship? In Good Daughters: Loving Our Mothers As They Age
, journalist Patricia Beard explores the emotional impact of aging and asks the essential questions, "How can we make peace with our mothers?" and "Why is it so hard?"
Based on dozens of interviews, Beard attempts to understand what works--and does not work--in women's relationships with their aging mothers. Good Daughters is structured into three sections: "Reality Check," a discussion of the changing mother-daughter relationship as women age as well as changes in the culture; "Profiles," an in-depth description of mother-daughter pairs; and "Loss," an exploration of the grieving process--for both mother and daughter--as death becomes imminent. Good Daughters is sensitively and thoughtfully written and brings a great deal of insight to this difficult topic. Readers struggling with the issue of what it means to be a daughter of an aging mother might want to augment this fine book with Alix Kates Shulman's brilliant memoir, A Good Enough Daughter. --Ericka Lutz
From Publishers Weekly
"Can we feel what it is like to be old when we are in the middle of our lives?" asks Beard (Growing Up Republican) in this sensitive and well-written study of the relationship between baby boomer daughters and their aging mothers. The author, a journalist who herself has an aging parent, has pinpointed a sociological and personal concern that has emerged as women live longer and their daughters are frequently called upon to become their primary caretakers. In this self-help manual for those who are or will soon be assisting their mothers through their last stages of life, the author addresses the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship, sometimes characterized by ambivalence and unmet expectations on the part of both women. Beard draws on academic studies and interviews with both professionals and ordinary women to describe the difficulties stemming from the role reversal that occurs as elderly women become more dependent. Daughters who are struggling to do the right thing by their mothers will find a wealth of true stories, encompassing mothers and daughters who have a loving history, daughters whose mothers were once abusive, and women who currently live with their mothers or are separated from them by distance. In this valuable, accessible resource Beard also addresses the unique closeness that often exists between mothers and daughters in African-American families. National advertising.
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