Blog #38: Multiplying Matremoirs

“How did our mother, with her grace, her discretion, her exquisite sensitivity, spring from a woman with the grace of a tuba and the sensitivity of a stuffed sturgeon.” Zeitgeist is a funny thing. When I started tweeting a daily patremoir sentence, I did not give much thought to matremoirs. There were relatively few matremoirs to choose from, and such as existed were, for the most part, misery memoirs. Now a sea change seems to be swelling. This week, I have been tweeting from Who Killed Mom?, a humorous yet tender and wise delight of a book by Steve Burgess. A couple of weeks before, I tweeted from Sarah Leavitt’s impressive graphic narrative, Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me. Before that it was Jeanette Winterson’s breathtaking Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, as much a celebration of the redemptive power of literature as it is the story of her relationship with her abusive step-mother. Still to tweet is The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok, and then in May Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother? will be published. If only half as good as her patremoir Fun Home, this will be a memorable matremoir indeed. It looks like mother memoirs have finally found their moment, and if the number and quality hold up, there will soon be enough material to compile an exceptional Mothers: A Literary Anthology.

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