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Tea Leaves Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Bella Books (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594932786
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594932786
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,348,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Janet Mason is an award-winning writer of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Her commentary is regularly featured on This Way Out, an international radio syndicate based in Los Angeles and aired on more than 400 radio stations in the U.S. and abroad. She is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, including When I Was Straight. Her work has appeared in The Advocate, American Writing and Chiron Review. She teaches creative writing at Temple University Center City in Philadelphia.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Kaye on July 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
After reading Tea Leaves by Janet Mason, all I can say is,"Wow!" This story was written with love and compassion and tells the story of a daughter's love and devotion to her mother during her mother's final months of life. Every woman can relate to this story because there are so many real-life stories intertwined into it about mother-daughter relationships from early childhood to adulthood. Many of us had rocky paths through the teenage years with the battle of the mother-daughter strong wills. This book really connects on that issue drawing you into the humor and frustration many of us face. Mason's writing is clean, sharp, and inspirational. She has you both laughing and crying at the same time. I, too, lost my mother to cancer over a six-month period, and this book brought me back to that special time of spending precious final moments with her. You won't want to put this book down from the very first page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By book friend on April 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The memoir is brilliant. There is not a wasted word as Mason connects her mother’s back stories with Mason’s own experiences in exploring and discovering herself. She has a gift in taking the most ordinary occurrences and giving them a unique perspective that is at once personal and universal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diana on July 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Tea Leaves, a memoir of mothers and daughters by Janet Mason, is an excellent read. I found it immediately engaging and tightly written. I was captivated by the stories that were passed down from the narrator's grandmother, who worked in a textile mill, to the mother, who worked in an office. The generation of the mother in Tea Leaves is different than my own mother's, who was born in 1910, but there are many similarities. For one thing, there are the working class values that you just work, do what you have to do - and not whine.
There is also a similarity about breaking dishes, described in the following passage of Tea Leaves:
"Maybe the lack of tradition is a tradition in itself? I stopped to reconsider that I may have overlooked some family traditions: screaming and breaking dishes. When my mother was a child, her mother had hurled a cast-iron skillet at her head. 'I ducked,' my mother told me years later, 'and it went right through the window. Mama was mad at me for years. She said the broken window was my fault.' My mother had altered the pattern a little bit. She vented her pent-up rage by smashing dishes in the kitchen, while I sat terrified in the other room. I remember her doing this several times, once after my grandmother died when I was twelve. The dish breaking was accompanied with the slamming of the kitchen cabinets."
In my family, the first time we got new dishes, Mom insisted that we break the old ones, throwing them onto the kitchen floor - with the difference that Mom made it into a fun event, in contrast to the experience in Ms. Mason's book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Foxx on June 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
Reading Tea Leaves, a memoir of mothers and daughters, by Janet Mason (published in 2012 by Bella Books), was like looking in a mirror at my own life. The book is the story of an adult daughter who, on finding out that her mother has fourth-stage terminal cancer, returns to care for her. I, too, cared for my mother at the end of her life and even though the circumstances were different, Tea Leaves held a great deal of emotional resonance for me.

When Janet returns to take care of her mother, she encourages her to tell her family stories - and for the last time, she listens to her mother talking about her own mother, who worked in a textile mill in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Their family came from Bradford, England (a town known for its decaying textile mills that were in full force during the Victorian era) and Janet's grandmother, Ethelind Elizabeth, had illusions of being related to English Royalty. Her dying mother, Jane, scoffs at this ("Royalty, my arse," she says) but somewhere in her childhood she must have believed her mother. On her one trip abroad, she traveled by herself to England and when the tour bus stopped in Bradford, she refused to get off the bus.

"Thinking about her mother's devotion (which my mother most likely thought of as subservience) to the church, my mother slammed the guidebook shut. There was nothing here that was any better than her mother's life working in the textile mill. The mill was like an evil fairy tale--her mother and her mother and her mother before her had all pricked their fingers on a spindle and the life drained out of them."

The writing is lyrical and mesmerizing.
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Format: Paperback
TEA LEAVES arrived on a day-off from work so as it turns out I could devote myself to the luxury of hour after hour of uninterrupted reading. And so it began. What an awesome book!! Janet Mason has done an amazing job capturing the lives of three generations of women -- mother, daughter, grandmother; higher education and aspirations, the meaning of class in America, the shameful failure of modern medicine to listen to and serve women<and men>,the power of healing alternatives, the meaning of work vs jobs, coming out, balancing relationships with responsibilities in times of disaster, and coming to terms with the death of someone who is irreplaceable-- all there and more. Props to Janet!! I hope she's proud of herself as an author -- her book is truly a stunning and memorable literary achievement.
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