To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Mother Knot: A Memoir Paperback – July 12, 2005
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In Harrison's case, it seems to have been for much, much worse. Her mother, pregnant at 17 and married briefly, moved into her own place when her daughter was six, leaving Harrison to be raised, with scrupulous care and scant understanding, by her grandparents. Although her mother remained nearby and saw her child on weekends, they never lived together again. She died at 42, of breast cancer.
A mother who was there, yet absent. A mother whom she adored and hated in equal measure. A mother she never really had who nonetheless occupied huge real estate in Harrison's psyche and affected her own sense of parenthood. THE MOTHER KNOT begins with Harrison thrown into a spiral of despair over two apparently unrelated events: her decision to stop breast-feeding her third child (a daughter) and her son's bout with severe asthma. The depression and eating disorders she had developed in childhood now return; she goes back to her longtime analyst; she starts taking medication and losing weight; she feels responsible for her son's illness, overcome by a black, vindictive force that at last she identifies as her mother --- or Harrison's internalized version of her.
Whew. Strong stuff --- yet for me, this sea of troubles didn't really register at first; it was too neat, too practiced. THE MOTHER KNOT struck me as: (a) something of a gyp (96 pages for $19.95? Please.) and (b) traversing confessional ground already mined by the author in her novels THICKER THAN WATER and EXPOSURE: parental abandonment, anorexia, depression, incest.Read more ›
In her acknowledgements (which she chose to place at the end of the book rather than the beginning), Harrison writes, "Though my mother didn't prepare me for marriage or motherhood or the job of living, she did give me a muse. My love for her preceded and has outlasted the rage. Because her purpose was to elude she continues to fascinate. She provides what a writer requires, an eternally empty vessel into which endless characters and plots, and all the longing they represent, can be poured."
Not unlike myself, or many women I know, Harrison's relationship with her mother consists of a series of incongruous emotions--love and hate, pride and despair, admiration and shame, but most of all misunderstanding. From these emotions, Harrison shares with her reader the struggle to finally set herself free from a painful past so that she can move into the present and future.
Struggling with anorexia and depression, Harrison relates a childhood spent in search of her mother's approval and love... a quest that seemed to be in vain. At the age of forty-one, Harrison finally is able to come to terms with the hold her long dead mother continues to have on her. She takes positive steps to regain her life and to find a way to live peacefully with the memories of her mother.
This poignant memoir is a must read for anyone who struggles with mother-daughter relationship issues of their own.Read more ›
"I sat on my heels at the water's pleated edge and touched the pink frills of foam." What an emotional impact she can create with so few simple words.
The premise of the memoir is not one I'd agree with, however, since it basically ignores the enormous influence genes have on our lives. I wouldn't bet that depression and/or anorexia can be "cured" by symbolically casting away an abandoning-mother demon. Rather, I'd guess the depression and anorexia are genetic demons to be dealt with over and over throughout life, and having the mother-memories of her dreams wouldn't have made the battles any easier for Kathryn Harrison.
In her Acknowledgments she addresses the irony of her abandoning- mother demon providing "what a writer requires". I loved that last paragraph the most.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Harrison holds nothing back. She reveals the good and the bad... and makes no excuses. This book was riveting.Published 17 days ago by Kathryn McNeely
Well written and sometimes hard to read, however worth the effort for those who have had difficult mother relationships. Read morePublished 16 months ago by S.Z. M.
I picked this up because there arent many books out there by adult women who struggle with anorexia and depression and I thought I could relate. Read morePublished on May 11, 2013 by cray
It's 82 pages. As of 22September2012, the Kindle price is $8.99. If you've read Harrison's "The Kiss" (which actually is book-length), you've already read the essential themes in... Read morePublished on September 22, 2012 by devoted reader
This could have been a short, magazine article instead of a book. Not interesting at all -- a very average read I picked up at the library.Published on November 13, 2011 by kayeffect
I had such a hard time finishing this very short memoir. It was very short but packed with lots of reflections. Read morePublished on April 25, 2008 by Barb F.
Kathryn Harrison achieves quite a bit in "The Mother Knot" -- tying together breast feeding, maternal guilt, anorexia, and grief over a parent's negligence. Read morePublished on September 1, 2007 by Alex Nichols, author of Shadow Rock