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on April 24, 2009
This latest book from Ruth Reichl is an insightful and honest look at the
complicated ways that mothers and daughters show each other love. Thoughtful and surprising in its tone and approach, Not Becoming My Mother is unsentimental (and at times brutally honest), yet always shows the highest respect and generosity to its title character, "Mim" Reichl. As always, Reichl (the Younger) is charmingly droll, but one feels an especial tenderness and sensitivity in describing what can only have been a mother-daughter relationship that, like so many, is a roiling mixture of love, fear, admiration, anxiety, and vulnerability.

Far from the usual treacly "I love mom" stuff you find at the bookstores around Mother's Day, Not Becoming My Mother is much more entertaining, much better written and ultimately much, much more inspiring. This is one book every mother and daughter should read as a book club of two.
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on December 30, 2010
A moving and surprisingly gripping account of how Ruth Reichl's mother struggled for happiness and meaning at a time--not so long ago--when beauty was a woman's only asset, and marriage and motherhood her only socially sanctioned goals.
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on August 28, 2009
Story told was very similar to her earlier books. Wish she writes another book and talks more about her travels, work and new eating experiences since she started with Gourmet Magazine. I love the way she tells a story.
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on September 22, 2009
I've read all of Ruth Reichl's books and loved them. Not Becoming My Mother was very special. It prompted wonderful conversations with everyone in our whole book group; it inspired all of us to reflect on our own relationships with our mothers; and we are all going to write something about our mothers for the next group. I highly recommend this thoughtful book
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on May 28, 2009
Touching, moving, and insightful. I've loved all of Ruth's books, but I'm an even bigger fan after reading this very thoughtful, mature homage to a difficult and misunderstood mom.
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on July 6, 2009
In the beginning of the book, she writes "Telling stories to your friends is one thing, but a book is quite another, and I would never have written it while she was still alive. Although I omitted the most embarrassing tales, the first time I held the printed book in my hands I winced. I could not keep from thinking that I had betrayed my mother."

Bascially, this book is an overdue apology to her mother for portraying her in such a bad light in her previous books. And it's well overdue.
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on November 29, 2009
This book is sadly lacking in both depth and content. Once I had the book in my hand and could see the small size of the book and then the large type I immediately knew it would be a let down. While the story does contain some interesting details, it doesn't give the reader enough... you can read the whole thing in less than an hour. And then you'll be left wondering why it ever was made into a book instead of just being a nice article in a magazine.
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on October 3, 2009
I borrowed this book from the library, but if I'd bought it for my Kindle as other readers did, and paid $9.99, I would have been disappointed. I enjoyed the book, but it did seem a bit lightweight.
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on October 7, 2009
I have loved Ruth Reichl's other books, but was more than disappointed in this one. From her descriptions of her mother's behavior, and her mother's own words, it is clear that Miriam Reichl had untreated bipolar disorder (manic-depression). This is a serious mental illness that today is very well-managed for most people with the condition through medication, therapy, and a supportive and understanding family. Miriam had none of these. Her daughter chalks up mother's sadness and bizarre behavior to thwarted career aspirations and the culture of the dutiful "stay-at-home and be a housewife/cook/mother" of her times. It is really sad that even in death, Miriam is so misunderstood by her own daughter. Heartbreaking, really.
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on April 24, 2009
I just finished Ruth Reichl's new book, so perfectly timed as mother's day approaches. The loving picture of Ruth and her mom on the cover really captures this special and complicated relationship that Reichl shares in her newest book. I felt Ruth's anticipation and trepidation as she opens her mother's intimate papers, and laughed and cried as she shares the rich discoveries she found inside. This is a great read, and a lovely gift which I've already bought for several friends who are daughters and who have their own daughters.
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