A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps
edited by Dave Isay
First sentence: “StoryCorps launched October 23, 2003, in Grand Central Terminal in New City.”
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Review copy provided by TLC Tours
I didn’t quite know what to expect, going into this one. It’s a series of conversations from the StoryCorps booths about mothers. Since there’s no coherent narrative, and since every story is just a snippet, really, I figured it’d be an easy, but not very substantial read.
On the one hand, I was right: it was an easy read. I breezed through it in an afternoon, but not only because it’s an easy read. It’s also an engaging one. Maybe it’s because I have an odd fascination with oral histories, but I found the stories, even if they were just snippets, to be fascinating.
There’s stories of mothers dying, of mothers caring, of mothers working, of mothers giving up babies, of mothers adopting children, of hard times and good times. It’s a broad collection of remembrances, from every walk of life. It was touching and interesting and sweet, even if it wasn’t especially memorable or life-changing. A lovely antidote to all the extreme mom stories: both the ones that make you feel guilty because you’re not doing enough, and the ones that make you feel smug because you’re so much better than that.
However, I think it was something Dave Isay wrote in the afterward that moved me the most:
I hope you’ll spread the word about our efforts. We want to encourage the entire nation to take the time to ask life’s important questions of a loved one — or even a stranger — and really listen to the answers. We hope to shower this country with more of the sorts of stories you’ve just read — authentic voices that remind us what’s truly important, that tell real American stories, and that show us all the possibilities life presents when lived to its fullest.
It made me want to seek out a booth for a conversation of my own. Which, I suppose, is the best thing you can get out of the book.