What My Mother And I Don't Talk About
Edited by Michele Filgate
Inspired by the editor's viral essay in 2017, this anthology by 15 writers explores the painful subjects that they cannot discuss with their mothers and how toxic codes of silence have shaped their writing and relationships
As an undergraduate, Michele Filgate started writing an essay about being abused by her stepfather. It took her more than a decade to realize that she was actually trying to write about how this affected her relationship with her mother. When it was finally published, the essay went viral, shared on social media by Anne Lamott, Rebecca Solnit, and many others. This gave Filgate an idea, and the resulting anthology offers a candid look at our relationships with our mothers.
Leslie Jamison writes about trying to discover who her seemingly perfect mother was before ever becoming a mom. In Cathi Hanauer’s hilarious piece, she finally gets a chance to have a conversation with her mother that isn’t interrupted by her domineering (but lovable) father. André Aciman writes about what it was like to have a deaf mother. Melissa Febos uses mythology as a lens to look at her close-knit relationship with her psychotherapist mother. And Julianna Baggott talks about having a mom who tells her everything.
As Filgate writes, “Our mothers are our first homes, and that’s why we’re always trying to return to them.” There’s relief in acknowledging how what we couldn’t say for so long is a way to heal our relationships with others and, perhaps most important, with ourselves.
Contributions by Cathi Hanauer, Melissa Febos, Alexander Chee, Dylan Landis, Bernice L. McFadden, Julianna Baggott, Lynn Steger Strong, Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado, André Aciman, Sari Botton, Nayomi Munaweera, Brandon Taylor, and Leslie Jamison.
Read if you: always subtract $5 from the price of what you're wearing, when your mother asks how much you paid for it.