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Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now Hardcover – April 7, 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Named one of POPSUGAR's Best Books of 2015!

"Presents motherhood in all its multitudinous iterations..." —Elle

"Touching and humorous anthology."—Family Circle

“Brimming with essays from quick-witted, unique writers—ranging from new voices to established ones like Jenny Lawson and Jennifer Weiner—this book covers all parenting territory. Part of it is funny and a lot of it is tear-jerking… You may find yourself staying up way past your bedtime because this one is so hard to put down.” —Parents magazine

"Lively personal stories."—Cosmopolitan

“Writers reflect on wisdom gleaned from the women who raised them, motherhood and more in this charming, often funny essay collection.”—Good Housekeeping

“This frank, funny, and touching anthology…discusses the complex and diverse array of parenting experiences, from step-motherhood to infertility, and everything in between.”—Real Simple

"[Listen To Your Mother] proves absolutely that there is no exclusive definition of ‘mother’…[and] is nearly guaranteed to shake up your preconceptions of motherhood…There’s a mother for everyone in this array.”—BookReporter

“A collection of hilarious, sometimes-raunchy, and always thought-provoking stories about personal experiences with race, gender, and motherhood.”—PopSugar

“A fascinating glimpse into what motherhood means today for families with vastly different backgrounds and experiences.”—American Way

“This collection serves as a significant contribution to literature on and about motherhood because it breaks down the isolation that so often surrounds the topic…. These candid writings feel like a dinner date with a group of smart mothers who share their successes and failures with wit, fear, melancholy, playfulness, and all of the emotions that surround the reality of parenting.” —Library Journal
 
“The stories in the collection run the gamut, and the result is varied enough to ensure that readers who don’t identify with one take will easily find resonance in another. Some will leave readers laughing out loud, while others will leave them crying. All of this collection’s stories, however, have one thing in common: readers will be left planning to call their mothers.” —Publishers Weekly

“A collection of personal essays about the importance of connecting mothers to each other for support…. The essays are short, which enables the book to cover a lot of ground, but they also pack a strong emotional punch—and they're almost certain to leave any mother feeling less alone.” —Kirkus Reviews

“With their authentic glimpses into this hard, beautiful thing we call life, the essays between these covers led me to fresh perspectives on mothering and being mothered. I savored the open vulnerability that met me with each turn of the page. From the hilarious to the profound, and not bound by gender or geography, these stories generously plumbed the depths of all that is motherhood.” —Anna Whiston Donaldson, New York Times-bestselling author of Rare Bird

“I’ve been a longtime fan of Ann’s Listen to Your Mother movement, and I just adore this collection. The stories are diverse, yet bound together by Listen to Your Mother’s trademark rawness and honesty. A perfect gift for any woman in your life . . . or yourself!” —Jill Smokler, New York Times-bestselling author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy

Listen to Your Mother manages to do what few anthologies do: it makes us see ourselves clearly through the eyes of many different writers—all gifted and many wickedly funny. These writers voice the things that everyone thinks and no one says. Long live the mothers!” —Suzanne Finnamore, award-winning author of Split

About the Author

Ann Imig is the founder of the live-reading series Listen to Your Mother, which is a rapidly growing national movement with shows in dozens of cities. She writes the blog Ann’s Rants, which was named to Babble's Top 100 Mom Blogs and Top 50 Twitter Moms, and was honored as a Voice of the Year from 2010-2013 by BlogHer. Ann lives with her husband and children in Madison, Wisconsin.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (April 7, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399169857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399169854
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ladybug TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 2, 2015
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Listen to Your Mother is composed of a huge selection of short essays written by various women (and a few men) in a variety of relationships and life circumstances. Authors are daughters, wives, widowers, husbands, gay, straight, trans, single, and divorced--with children both biological and adopted (or even none at all). Honestly, the variety of perspective in this book is actually pretty impressive.

And this is serious motherhood here. Sure, there are a few lighthearted, aiming-to-be-funny essays, but these were actually the weakest of the bunch--and my least favorite. No, most of these stories are written from a place of honest-to-God struggle and pain, with a genuine longing to understand and improve and cope and love.

Some of my favorites:

A Year by the Lake by Jenny Fiore: "More than halfway into the deployment, Elizabeth and I are at a local gym for toddler playtime. She hates leaving, and I know it will end in a theatrical mess, but I go anyway. See, more than she does, I need the gym, the zoo, the petting farm. I need the pet store, the playground, the pool. I need these in order to keep my child happy enough, occupied enough to not break me."

Mo' Betta Mama by Tasneem Grace Tewogbola: "Accept all situations, she said. Recognize the struggle. Slide into the valley, if you must. Moan, stew, thrash, rage, if you need. But, soon, summon the Most High, the Creator, the One, Big Mama."

Mother: A Multiplication Lesson by Dana Maya: "Because mothering is a difficult math problem, though, there is not only more in the sum, but also less. So many parts of our lives: gone. We lose what we need (sleep), what we crave (choice, solitude). We lose relationships and vanities, routines, and sanity.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Listen to Your Mother is a collection of 56 vignettes on motherhood written by various authors.
If you are not familiar with Ann Imig, the book's author and founder of the LTYM movement, you may find the subtitle a bit misleading.
This is not a book that takes a light, humorous look at "motherisms" from another era, say the 1950s, and compares them to how mothering has changed in the 21st century. Instead, it is a compilation of short stories - most pretty serious in their subject matter - by and about the challenges of both traditional and non-traditional motherhood.
Some are humorous, some are heartbreaking but they are all well-written and each chapter is a quick and easy read.
Another reviewer noted the lack of a common thread between the stories or their authors.
But it is Imig's intent to highlight the diversity of authors and subjects in Listen to Your Mother.
For anyone not familiar with Imig and the LTYM movement, be sure to understand what this book is about since the title and cover art don't really convey the weighty nature of the contents.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I LOVE this carefully crafted anthology of spoken-word stories transferred onto the page with depth and heart. The writers' rawness and honesty touched me; the diversity of experience is remarkable. You'll feel this one deeply. Well, done, Ann Imig!
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Format: Hardcover
The memory, the presence, of a mother is something that most of us share. Nostalgia about our moms can take many forms, especially as our society keeps changing and our definition of what it means to be a parent keeps morphing. This collection of short essays compiled by stay-at-home humorist Ann Imig proves absolutely that there is no exclusive definition of “mother” --- not in the world, not even in our own country and culture.

Imig’s anthology is nearly guaranteed to shake up your preconceptions of motherhood. What about, for example, the two men who want to raise a child? They get an offer for an egg --- from the sister of one of them. Will she be a mother? An aunt? Both? Neither? Will she have parental rights? Is she nuts to make the offer? And though she could claim biological motherhood, won’t they, too, fulfill a motherly role?

As both men work through these questions, we learn from Jerry Mahoney (“More than an Aunt, Less than a Mom”) that parenting can have a lot of “gray areas.” In “Three Little Letters” we explore another “gray area”: the father who is a real mother to his daughter, not because he is at all feminine --- far from it --- but because, by adding three letters to the parental honorarium, you get “mothering,” something that he handles surprisingly well. “The Upside to Down” by Mery Smith offers a glimpse into the experience of a mother coming to accept a certain fact about her new baby: “the fold over his cute little ears, the one crease in the palm of his right hand, the speaking in his heart. It looked and sounded like Down syndrome.”

One of the more painful recollections comes from Yoon Park, in “A Much-Needed Slap in the Face.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This collection of very short stories by mostly unknown writers of all backgrounds, shows all aspects of motherhood, from real to surrogate to adopted or in guardianship, and range from funny to sweet to sad. There isn't a topic of motherhood that is overlooked here. "Peanut Butter and Jelly" by Taya Dunn Johnson is a particular sad one, and one that made me stop to think about what it must be like to come from an intact family, marry a man from an intact family, have all intents of raising an intact family, and yet through sudden death, the dreams don't work out. The son that is born is autistic, leaving a widowed mother having to raise the boy by herself. It's overwhelming. Another touching story by is Eddy Jordan, "My Mother the Protector," a short summary of the mother he loved, who was strong and courageous, but lost her third battle with breast cancer.

Mothers of all kinds learn to love a child, raise a child, and then learn to say good-bye. Even as an adult, though, that child is still the mother's child, until that mother becomes an old mother and needs mothering herself. These stories take one concept and write about that love, loss or grief. Not all the stories have an emotional impact. Some are rather so-so.

The individual writers are briefly profiled at the end of the book. Some are blog writers, some are stay-at-home moms, some are playwrights, writers, comedians.
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