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Letters from Motherless Daughters: Words of Courage, Grief, and Healing Paperback – April 1, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


At age 29, Edelman started an informal movement consisting of motherless women from around the world, bonded by her book Motherless Daughters. This companion volume draws from letters she received from women around the country. The letters are organized in stages of loss for maximum impact, providing important keys to understanding the problems and healing process. -- Midwest Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Revisiting the profoundly important subject of mother loss, Letters From Motherless Daughters is a compilation of real letters written by women in response to the ground-breaking New York Times bestseller Motherless Daughters.

When Motherless Daughters was first published in 1994, author Hope Edelman--through research, interviews, and personal experience--helped women across the country deal with the pain of losing a mother. Finally they felt free to discuss and try to understand their unique form of grief, and perhaps most importantly, they felt that they were not alone in their loss.

The overwhelming number of letters she received in response to Motherless Daughters prompted Hope Edelman to publish Letters From Motherless Daughters. Reaffirming her precious link with motherless women across the country, Hope presents these moving, honest, and often hopeful letters, along with her own insight, and offers readers a chance to further learn from this loss. Chapters are divided by the number of years since mother loss, and each addresses the significant issues of that stage. Hope also includes information on starting or joining a support group, and offers suggested reading for motherless women.

The words of these brave women illustrate the profound pain, the astounding strength, and the undying perseverance to live on, but never outlive the need for one's mother.of police barricades, the razor-sharp line between life and death, the unforgiving chasm


Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Delta; Ex-library edition (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385315228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385315227
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,066,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hope Edelman is the internationally acclaimed author of six nonfiction books, including the bestsellers Motherless Daughters, Motherless Mothers, and the memoir The Possibility of Everything, as well as the recent ebook, Boys Like That. She has lectured widely on the subjects of early mother loss and nonfiction writing in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.A.E. Her articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Glamour, Child, Seventeen, Real Simple, Parents, Writer's Digest, and Self, and her original essays have appeared in many anthologies, including The Bitch in the House, Behind the Bedroom Door, and Goodbye to All That. Her work has received a New York Times notable book of the year designation and a Pushcart Prize for creative nonfiction. She can be found in Iowa City every July teaching at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. The rest of the year, she lives in Topanga Canyon, California, with her husband and their two daughters, and teaches in the MFA program at Antioch University-LA.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am 19 years old and lost my mother to a brain tumor on March 27, 1997. Hope's "Motherless Daughters" was the third bereavement-help book I had read, and by far surpassed my expectations. Without this book, I would have never known that all the feelings I have been consumed by since her death--guilt, anger, sadness and an incredible sense of loss (not only of her, but of my family altogether)--were normal. This past year has been incredibly difficult since my father remarried in June, one year and three months after Mom died. Hope's book addressed this and other issues that my family, friends, and even those I feel closest to do not dare to confront. This is a book you will want close to you during those endless nights of sadness, tears and hopelessness. It is a book that justified the burning anger I feel every time I think of all the moments in my life my mother and I would have shared if she had not died so young. "Motherless Daughters& quot; is a comforting presence--written by one who knows what it's like just as well as anybody. Thank you, Hope. If you had not written the book, I know I would have later in life!
I love you, Mom. Kathy Louise Laird O'Brien November 19, 1952 - March 27, 1997
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This is definitely required reading for motherless daughters, but it is somewhat flawed. Edelman concentrates too much on the memoirs of teenage and young adult motherless daughters. She doesn't ignore the younger motherless child, but it is obvious that these daughers neither responded to her questionnaire or to her request for interviews. I read it and its sequel last evening. Our mother died in 1954, our father died in 1962, and I'd always thought my sisters and I were unique. We take for granted that if one of us is out of touch for more than five minutes, she's assumed "dead in a ditch somewhere." Two of us were conviced we would die at age 47, the age our mother was when she died. Only one of us is married; none of us had children, despite securing promises from one another all through our girlhood that we'd raise each other's children. We were convinced that if we became mothers, one of us or all of us wouldn't live to raise our children and we couldn't bear to impose on any child the same sort of childhood we'd had. Thanks to Hope Edelman, now I realize we're hardly unique, just garden variety motherless daughters who were orphaned between the ages of 7 and 13. In one of the "types" she details, I was flabbergasted by how accurately my own life was portrayed on the page. It'd be more interesting if there were more samples from older women who were orphaned before the age of 13. Certainly the sequel "Letters,..." is mostly from women who lost mothers in their 20s, probably because those were the people who wrote to Edelman after "Motherless Daughters..." first came out. No one's life is perfect. Daughters with very alive mothers can be worse off and often are.Read more ›
1 Comment 29 of 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Several years ago, Hope Edelman wrote a book that was supposed to help women deal with the loss of a mother. She did this so that other women would not have to go through the ordeal she did. Specifically, the ordeal of not having an adequate reference for dealing with such a tragedy.
Her efforts resulted in the widely popular Motherless Daughters.
With the publication of the book came a flood of letters from women who wanted to share their own experiences with Edelman.
In response, Edelman has compiled many of these letters into the compact Letters from Motherless Daughters. The purpose of this book is to show the many ways in which women have come to deal with their tragic losses.
After reading letter upon letter, I too realized something that she claimed she was at first unaware of: one never gets over the loss of an important person. All one can do is either choose to mourn and dwell on the past, or choose to grow from the loss and continue on with life.
Many of the letters are poignant, while others are heart-wrenching. Yet others display a true sense of courage, while some reflect the confusion and agony that has invaded the daughter's life.
Reading such letters is beneficial to a certain degree--they open one's eyes to the bitter reality of dealing with death, and they allow one to see that others have also experiences similar feelings.
Although these letters do serve a crucial purpose, they are only letters. Nothing can truly dissipate the trauma of enduring the loss of a mother--it is something that no one can ever be fully prepaired for.
Letters from Motherless Daughters is a book whose value has to be discovered by the person reading it.
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By A Customer on April 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
It will be 12 years in Aug since my mother died of cancer. I was in denial for a couple of years. I could not speak her name or hear her name, even though I wanted so badly to talk about her, without going into a crying jag. I was 20 and had to go through very important events and stages in my life without my mother. About 4 years ago my mother-in-law gave me a book Motherless Daughters. I think I cried through the whole book. It has been a very important part of my healing process. I am not alone and I am not crazy! Not a day goes by that I don't think about Mom and the love she had for me. She is my guardian angel.
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