Returning To My Mother's House: Taking Back the Wisdom of the Feminine First Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0963032751
ISBN-10: 0963032755
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

In this feminist memoir, Straub, a writer and teacher of empowerment principles, memorializes her mother's unfulfilled life. Soon after she grew up, went into the world, and began teaching, her mother died a premature death from heart disease. At one point, Straub, overworked and burned out, realized she had given up her "feminine" life—one of contemplation and intuition—for a masculine one of overachievement and workaholism. As she untangles these threads, she processes her grief over her mother's death. For those interested in women's issues and spirituality.—Elizabeth Brinkley
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Review

Library Journal--

In this feminist memoir, Straub, a writer and teacher of empowerment principles, memorializes her mother's unfulfilled life. Soon after she grew up, went into the world, and began teaching, her mother died a premature death from heart disease. At one point, Straub, overworked and burned out, realized she had given up her "feminine" life--one of contemplation and intuition--for a masculine one of overachievement and workaholism. As she untangles these threads, she processes her grief over her mother's death. For those interested in women's issues and spirituality.

"Returning to My Mothers House is Gail Straub's poetic, heartfelt, and very personal journey story, but it is also my story, your story, and the story of a culture in desperate need of taking back the wisdom of the feminine. I came away from the adventure of reading this book full of hope for the restoration of the feminine in each of us, and our world."--Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder of the Omega Institute and author of Broken Open and The Seekers Guide

"There isn't a woman alive who won't be able to relate to this lyrical, poignant, and beautifully written story. Like Elizabeth Gilberts Eat, Pray, Love, Gail's story will help women gain insight and wisdom that not only will help heal their relationship with their mothers but could, quite frankly, help save their lives! Bless you, Gail, for doing work that heals all of us."--Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and Mother-Daughter Wisdom, from the Foreword
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: High Point; First edition (September 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963032755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963032751
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,370,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on February 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Gail Straub had a record of success: foreign exchange student to Paraguay; Peace Corp worker in Africa; co-creator with her husband of Empowerment Training Programs, a business with an international clientele.

By the time she was in her thirties, however, she was seeing the "ample underbelly" of success: a life out of balance. Ironically, while she was teaching other people how to achieve their dreams, her own life was in great part motivated by the desire to live her own mother's "unlived life."

Regaining proper balance required Straub to examine her relationship with both of her parents and consider how they influenced the choices she had made. In Returning to My Mother's House: Taking Back the Wisdom of the Feminine, Straub describes her journey, both physical, spiritual, and emotional, to reclaim her feminine wisdom and for the first time begin to live her own life.

Straub remembers a childhood of "abundant happiness" in a home that was a "creative partnership" between her mother, a former artist, and her father, a teacher and woodcrafter. During those years, her mother was imaginative, loving, and "at home with herself." By the time Straub was in her early teens, however, Jacqueline Straub had become obsessed with fitting into the "upscale conservative society" to which her wealthy neighbors belonged. At this time, says Straub, the "subtle interior compass that guided her was replaced by exterior standards and outer status symbols," and her mother "began to leave her own house.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nina Freedman on October 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was inspired on so many levels. I felt a particular, deep lesson repeating itself, that relieves me from my conscious, deliberate planning of the future. In Gail's reclaiming of her feminine soul, we see how one piece of her life births the next piece of life. It is an uraveling and building of heartfelt, unpredictable steps toward wisdom and grace. She could not have planned or known this staggeringly amazing journey from the beginning. And so, I am clearly reminded of the organic, magical and mysterious path of life and the trust I must have in its unfolding, in absolutely the right way. What a reflief!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. Goodwin on October 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I totally love my mom -- in many ways she's my hero -- but nobody presses my buttons the way she does. Reading Gail Straub's book, Returning to My Mother's House, was like a year of therapy for me.
Straub weaves together her own story and that of her mother in a way that is both intimate and highly readable. Her life as a global activist is a fascinating story, but what really touched me was how she gradually uncovered the power of her mother's influence, the magnetic pull of a mom's unlived life. Each insight that Straub uncovered seemed to trigger one in me too, and in the days since reading it, I find myself rethinking my relationship with my 80 year-old Mom in ways that I'm hoping will make the ever-smaller time we still have together a little richer.
Does this add up to capturing the wisdom of the feminine? That's a big question, but I sense it's nudging me along in that probably lifelong process.
This is a book I'm recommending to a lot of my closest friends, and I'm nagging them to read it soon! Cause I can hardly wait to curl up and have a long conversation with them about all the thoughts and feelings it kicked up for me.
If you're like me, cherishing your mom yet longing for a very different life, you will love this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kayla Gluck on January 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
One of my first reactions to Gail Straub's book, before even finishing it, was to call my 88 year old aunt in Arizona and make a date to visit her. Much as I love her, my primary goal was to discuss with her her remembrances of my mother (10 years her senior) from their childhood. For years I have been aware of the disparity between my vision of my mom as her daughter and the tales and photos I have of her from her early years. Such is the power of this rather excellent "read"...one is moved to contemplation, action and an expanded vision of relationships and personal narrative.
Ms. Straub is a gifted writer and in her incredibly honest exposition, gives us the tools we need to explore this important part of every woman's development.
A highly recommended book for those wanting to know more about the unfolding of their own sacred femininity.
Kayla Gluck
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jane E. Honeck on October 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
On first read, I was jealous that Gail had a mother that at least opened up the idea of the feminine. Growing up with a German heritage in a family dominated by the masculine, the feminine was hard to find. Thanks to this book, after a lifetime of resentment, I can begin to let my mother "off the hook." I can now see that nothing in her lifetime offered her a lifeline to herself. And, more importantly, it showed me how crucial it is for me to pass on to the next generation every possible piece of feminine wisdom I have gathered. I can't wait to read it again!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MC Garcia on November 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Those who have had the good fortune to take Gail's workshops over the years know that she is a thoughtful, caring, and inspiring teacher. Her new, beautifully written book explores deeply personal yet universal themes. She invites readers -- men and women alike--to explore our life choices and core relationships, and consider strategies that might help transform the world we've created for ourselves. Thank you for the lovely book, Gail.
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