From Publishers Weekly
Black (In the Shadow of Polio: A Personal and Social History), whose mother became too ill to care for her when Black was four and died when she was six, questions how being a motherless daughter affects her ability to relate to her children. Starting from the premise that "nothing... exerts an influence on how a woman raises a child as powerfully as does her own mother," Black sifts through her own feelings, searches through psychological literature, and interviews 50 women between the ages of 20 and 70 about the effects of being under-mothered. Although Black acknowledges that others can sometimes step in to fill the void left by a mother who is absent from her daughter's life because of illness, alcoholism, drug abuse or death, her focus never waivers from what happens when the mother-daughter tie tears and the daughter is left without a role model. Unlike Hope Edelman in Motherless Daughters, Black is less interested in the loss itself than in its effects on mothering, which, in her case, made her wait until she was in her 40s to have children. Black views good mothering as satisfying a child's five basic needs laid out by psychologist Abraham Maslow ("physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization") and is careful to concede "there is no right way to mother." While psychological jargon like "allomother" or "insecure attachment" can obscure Black's point, her interview subjects offer other women afraid of motherhood reassurance that it is possible to be a good mother without having experienced good mothering.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
[A] tribute to human resilienceÖ[to] the women able to erase the imprint of inadequate mothering to become attentive, loving parents. -- The Rocky Mountain News
[A]chingly poignant... -- O Magazine, January 2004