A review of The Maternal is Political:
The Maternal Is Political: Women Writers at the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change Edited by Shari MacDonald Strong, foreword by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. Seal, $15.95 paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-58005-243-6
In a raw and emotional literary anthology, 30 women express their frustrations about motherhood, their disappointment with unsupportive work environments and their deep desire for social change. In her debut effort as an anthology editor, Strong brings together voices of veteran and first-time writers in a cacophony of cries that mothering isn’t just personal, it’s political. The stories include Annie Downey, a struggling mother on welfare ; Jennifer Margulis and her husband who, unable to reconcile full-time work and parenting, quit office work and begin a home business; and Helaine Olen’s horror stories of “mean moms” in playgroups who look down on stay-at-home mothers. Anne Lamott writes of the difficulty of espousing a pro-choice position before a largely Catholic audience. This book has a liberal bent, and happy, content mothers don’t get much airtime. Young women considering motherhood may be taken aback by the rage and unchecked anger in some of the essays and the lack of solutions presented. But if shock spurs action, this anthology has done its job. (June)
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