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on April 13, 2004
This is a gentle book of celebration. Cokie Roberts is an attractive lady from a large family of achievers. She shares part of her life story with the reader and writes valuable information in the form of essays, about amazing women past and present; many of whom we have not been aware of.
I thoroughly enjoyed this easy to read book. I recommend it as encouragement to all women especially those hiding their talents.
Mostly though, it is a reassuring book in that we women are reminded to appreciate each other, ever learning, ever discovering new ways to contribute, even if our best efforts go unnoticed for a time; willing to step back or go forward as the need arises, and always share the credits.
With all due respect to the author, I find the title to be unworthy of this fine book. I am my daughter's mother; some women have no daughters, some daughters have no mother to encourage them - anyway perhaps I haven't gotten the point. Do read this book, enjoy it, and give it your own title!
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on July 18, 2003
I remember my mom telling me once that when she asked my grandfather for the money to take the college entrance exam he told her she should go to secretary school like all the other women. There was a time that women weren't allowed to seek their own destiny, be it successful stay at home moms or successful career women. I think my generation of women has forgotten about that and grown too comfortable with delegating our social and political responsibilities. I borrowed a copy of this book from a woman who is my mentor and bought a copy for my mom. But every woman my age and younger should read this so that they remember what came before us, and quite frankly as a career woman who still gets limited by my gender in the workplace, it is important to realize how far we've come and how far we still need to go. I didn't realize how good we have it, having lived on my own, bought my own cars and houses (the book talks about women not being extended lines of credit or losing lines of credit if their husbands died or divorced them --- as late as the 80s). The book has perhaps the best overall message that no matter what path you choose as a woman, what career or life choice, you have that choice now because of the women who came before us... our collective mothers. And it is our calling as daughters to make our mothers proud by not forgetting how valuable that choice is.
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on June 20, 2001
Catchy title and format (every chapter is a different woman's role), but fails to deliver anything of real substance. Although this is not a true memoir, at times it reads like one. Some of the autobiographical sections are very interesting. Cokie comes from a privileged background. She grew up in a very educated family, and she had lots of contact with a very large and loving extended family. The second fact is not very common to find nowadays, and i read in envy. I think some people dislike reading about happy childhoods, and criticize anything that strays away from Angela's Ashes.
But i digress. Cokie talks about facts and people that i had never heard about, and to me that is the main benefit of the book. I plan to read the autobiography of Esther Peterson, for example. However, as interesting as some of these facts were, i don't think they can save the book.
What i found most annoying about the book is the crude generalization that takes place when she writes about how women are connected through time. Where did she find that soundbyte? It's hard to connect to women in their 50's who make $500,000/year if you are a 24-year old high-school dropout on welfare (and that's not even including race into the equation). Also, all that talk about women being superwomen is empty of any true value. While i have to admit it is admirable that her mother cooked the entire banquet for Cokie's wedding by herself while taking care of a toddler grandson and dictating a speech (i freak out when more than 4 people come over for dinner), not everybody is made that way. In fact it is very good that not everybody is so capable. Cokie herself admits defeat when she acknowledges how she has missed many important occasions in the lives of her children. She, like millions of women out there, did it the best she could, but instead of admitting that, she proceeds to gloss over it, like it was no big deal after all. Contradictions abound, so caveat emptor. Do not expect deep commentary or analysis.
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on June 10, 1999
This book made me laugh out loud and made me weep. I have never seen such a thorough summary of the efforts of women in the past 150 years. Woven into this historical perspective is the story of a women who prizes her friends. We are biological daughters of the women who gave us life--but we are philosophical daughters of the women who made it possible for us to vote, to have a career, to own a business, to borrow money.
Cokie Roberts has ever so gently thrown down the gauntlet to all working women: someone made it easier for each of us--what are each of us doing to make it easier for those who follow us.
Read this book and ask yourself what you have done with your woman power.
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on May 20, 1999
I found this book to be superficial.
Given the title, I was expecting some truly thoughtful observations which might help me understand others, and perhaps also experience some personal truths about my own mother-child relationships in a new way. Given the author's talent and intellect, I expected a provocative book. But the book, while pleasant enough, was mostly just a memoir and did not live up to its title. While I respect the author, I'm not sure I would have spent money for her biographical efforts.
I suspect this was quite meaningful for her --- but I was disappointed.
Mary Romeyn, author, Nutrition and HIV: A New Model for Treatment
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on December 13, 1999
This book was great! She covers women's contributions through the history of the U.S. without it feeling like a boring history lesson. Better yet she reaffirms the relationships that all women have, with their moms, their friends, their co-workers, and their spouse. I'm buying this one for my friends!
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on January 15, 1999
I was expecting some heavy going from this, my book group's selection for this month. I admit, I was surprised to find this book was "light," almost chatty in its tone. I could have lived without some of the sketchy historical tales of women from the past, but Roberts' reflections on her own experiences hit home with me. This is a woman who you would expect to be a die-hard careerist. Instead, she shows how to balance life with grace -- the singular challenge that continues to face women today. I was comforted by her sanity. She remains a personal role model.
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on January 17, 2003
A very enjoyable book reminding us all that we carry parts or our personal mothers with us, as well as carry the benefits of the many women who came ahead of us. Cokie weaves in much of her personal story into the context of the growth of women as a group, allowing each reader to find some similar relationship in their own life. An excellent gift from woman to woman, rather it be mother to daughter, daughter to mother, or just friend to friend.
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on June 4, 2006
This book made me proud to be a woman! I learned a ton about women athletes, scientists, politicians, etc that I never knew. I also learned that even though I'm not a professional athlete, scientist or politician....we share many of the same experiences as women, wives and mothers. It's a great book and well worth the read. I recommend it for all women (and their spouses/significant others).
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on June 11, 1998
I have just finished Cokie Roberts' book We Are Our Mothers' Daughters. In my opinion, no better book has been written about women--women in the work place, women in the home, women in society, women in every phase of their lives.
The introduction establishes the subject matter and tells a story about visiting a Grecian museum to view everyday objects from the lives of the women of Marathon, Greece, many thousands of years ago. There Roberts observed needles, buttons, jewelry, toys, cooking pots, and make-up containers, all objects familiar to present-day women. Coming full circle, the book ends with a couple of sentences linking the women of the future to those Grecian women.
As the title indicates, continuity is an important theme of Roberts' writing. We are linked to our mothers (sisters, aunts, friends) as they are linked to theirs. . . She emphasizes the kinship of women, a relationship most men just don't get. This concept of connection becomes part of the major theme: a woman's place.
Through personal stories and through stories of women in history, Roberts develops a sense of the nature of the role of women throughout history--and today. From the title I expected the book to be about Lindy Boggs, Roberts' mother; but it is not. Her mother is just one of a number of women whose lives have taught her the place of women in history and in society.
I wept when I read of her sister's death. I laughed out loud reading about the way women's rights became a part of the Civil Rights Act. I found myself nodding my head as I read what Margaret Chase Smith wrote on the place of women. I giggled over the episode describing Roberts' daughter's first dance. And I have urged both my daughter and daughter-in-law to read this book. I truly enjoyed reading We Are Our Mothers' Daughters. I recommend it highly.
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