- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (September 30, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0446409499
- ISBN-13: 978-0446409490
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir Paperback – September 30, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
In her second affecting memoir about motherhood and nurturing (after Mitten Strings for God), Kenison, here at middle age with two sons in their teens, pursues with graceful serenity a time of enormous upheaval and transformation in her family's life. As her sons grew out of babyhood and into the new, unknown territory of adolescence, she no longer felt clear about what her life's purpose was supposed to be; their comfortable suburban Boston house of 13 years grew restraining, and Kenison longed for a simpler, more nature-connected lifestyle. Since neither she nor her husband, a publishing executive, was tied to a workplace (indeed, she was suddenly let go as the series editor of The Best American Short Stories after 16 years), they were content to be rootless for over three years, living mostly with Kenison's parents until the building of their new home on bucolic hilltop land purchased in New Hampshire was completed. Meanwhile, Kenison's youngest, Jack, began a new high school, while the older boy, Henry, a musician, applied to colleges, and the family had to adjust both to the move and to the startling, delightful pleasures of country life. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This eloquent book is ...about longing and fulfillment , taking stock of failures and achievements, a search for the elusive "something more" of one's existence-and a reminder that life's seemingly mundane moments are often where we find beauty, grace and transformation.―Family Circle Magazine,
"Kenison writes so beautifully and clearly about what is most important in family life."―Jane Hamilton, author of A Map of the World and Laura Rider's Masterpiece
An honest, graceful book that every parent will appreciate. In the thick of challenging changes, emotional troughs, and tender realizations the reader will find comfort and guidance. Here is a fine writer, a dedicated mother, and a spiritual seeker speaking intimately to parents in search of wisdom."―Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and Writing in the Sand
How I admire this mid-life mom, who writes with strong contemplative spirit and a heart wide open to change. Her memoir is a courageous and generous contribution to deepening American family life.―Nancy Mellon, author of Body Eloquence
"The Gift of an Ordinary Day is much more than a memoir of motherhood; it is an inspired and inspiring meditation on midlife. What Katrina Kenison gives mothers-her gift-is the promise of reinventing ourselves as our kids grow up and we grow older, and the assurance of an invitingly abundant landscape on the far side of parenthood."―Lisa Garrigues, author of Writing Motherhood
Top Customer Reviews
Although the prose is beautiful, it could be edited...that is the only fault I could find with this book. It is a heart-wrenching, speak-to-the gut book for any woman (or person) in their 40's, 50's or 60's, with children or without; to anyone who has questioned the meaning of their busy life and wondered what it would be like to live differently, to live a more simple, slower existence.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough--it has changed my life and the way that I look at and address my college-age children. Instead of hanging on to them, I now see that they need to find their own paths through life and this book has helped me to let go and to learn to find meaning in myself and my life as more than a mother. It is long but beautifully written; in places it is not easy to hear what the author has to say; but, believe me...every word of hers has the kind of value that will change your life.
The book followed a tiresome and repetitive formula, something like:
My life isn't exactly what I thought it would be. My sons aren't what I thought they would be. My house isn't what I thought it would be. And then the message, which is repeated over and over, is to embrace life, to live in the moment, to appreciate what you have instead of what you hoped you would have.
That is a nice message. But it's as if the author has to learn it 40 times throughout the book, and we the reader are dragged along through every banal epiphany.
After reading the comments, it seems like this book does resonate with people who are going through the exact same thing as she is. I'm in a different place in my life, so perhaps that has something to do with my dislike for the book.
She also comes across as being pretty self-absorbed and selfish. She makes huge decisions despite her entire family's protest in the name of self-growth. It seems like a problem of "wherever you go, there you are" to me. As in, she can change locations and homes as often as she wants, but she's still going to be herself. Which as far as I can tell, would be exhausting. I would want a break from it, too.
The language in the book is painstakingly crafted, like poetry. I am struggling to describe my reaction to it. Ironically, in trying to parse so carefully here in this review, I notice myself falling into the author's writing style...feel the feeling, but then--this is important-- polish it, buff it up, and make it presentable, even pleasant.
Let's just say I prefer down-to-earth, honest, realism. I felt like the author's flowery, poetic, carefully selected language was like a six-foot electric fence between me, the reader, and her real feelings.
And as a down-to-earth mother of two teenage boys myself, my BS detector was going wild. It happened throughout, but here's an illustrative example: the part about the two teenage boys arguing about who gets the chaise lounge every day after lunch because it's the best place to read? Um...yeah.
At book's end, the author says, "Pondering my own life required solitude." I must admit that statement puts me off. A married woman, a mother, in solitude? While "pondering life?" For months and years? Yikes.