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Certain Things About My Mother

Daughters Speak

edited by Susan Musgrave

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girls & women, teenagers
list price: $9.95
also available: Hardcover
published: 2003
publisher: Annick Press

A third anthology of honest voices that resonates with teens.

These stories are deeply personal, poignant accounts of the relationship between mothers and daughters during the contributors' teen years.

Hiromi Goto is conflicted about accepting her mother's reassurance of love. To right things, Goto declares, "Tomorrow I'll have to be extra bitchy so she'll know she's not my friend."

When Sue Goyette's mother takes a job, her daughter becomes the surrogate mother by default. The initial feeling of power is soon replaced by a longing for the way things were.

Melanie Little's nerves jangle from the constancy of the fighting between her and her mother, leaving her to "figure out how human beings can sustain such nastiness."

Such is the world of teen daughter/ mother relationships. Except when you're motherless. Priscila Uppal's story exudes the pain of wondering how her mother could leave without explanation, without seeming to care.

These memoirs shine with truthfulness. They will comfort teen readers as they struggle to become the women they want to be.

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Contributor notes

Susan Musgrave is a poet, novelist, children's writer, essayist, and columnist. She has edited two other anthologies for young adults: Nerves Out Loud: Critical Moments in the Lives of Seven Teen Girls and You Be Me: Friendship in the Lives of Teen Girls.


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Editorial Reviews

The stories are rife with self centredness--of daughters, or mothers, sometimes both--the instances of concession to the other, of self sacrifice, whether great or small, are what yield the epiphanic moments of tenderness, affection, and respect in these mother-daughter exchanges.... It takes great courage for the authors to make themselves and their stories vulnerable to outsiders' scrutiny. One cannot fault [them] for writing the truths that they need to tell, truths that particular readers will need to read.... It is the sort of book that might remind mothers of the daughters they once were, and might allow daughters to imagine the mothers they may/may not want to become. As such, it would lend itself well to reading group discussions, and it could also be used as required reading to elicit dialogue between mothers and daughters in conflict. In any event, it will make people talk!

— Canadian Materials

Poignant and powerful collection... well written and will be easy for any teenage girl to relate to.


Seven poignant and remarkably honest essays... For teens who can appreciate the bittersweet side of growing up, these small gems demonstrate the separate peace that can come to both mothers and daughters.

— School Library Journal
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About the Author

Susan Musgrave

Susan Musgrave is a critically acclaimed, award-winning poet, novelist, columnist, reviewer, editor and non-fiction writer. She has been nominated, and has received awards, for her poetry, fiction, non-fiction, personal essays and children's writing, as well as for her work as an editor.
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