Guide Make Me a Mother: A Memoir

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Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published February 17th by W. Norton Company. More Details Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Make Me a Mother , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 27, Rebecca rated it really liked it Shelves: family-memoirs , memoirs , read-via-edelweiss , writers-and-writing , adoption. Catherine of Siena. The irony, though, is that she was already a mother at that point; a lot of time and money had gone into adopting their son Jin from South Korea.

We had our own little mindfulness coach Which was true: I could have been trying to squeeze something the size of a football out of an opening in myself not anywhere near that big, and instead I sat in an Asian fusion place, much trendier than places I usually go, drinking ginger martinis. A beautiful, sympathetic meditation on modern motherhood in all its guises.

Mar 31, Literary Mama added it Shelves: memoir. Adopting her son, Jin, from Korea is just one of many acts of adoption Antonetta believes she will participate in. Antonetta recognizes the many ways we informally adopt children—as grandparents, stepparents, friends, and family members who bring children into our lives.

Quoting psychiatrist E. Jan 26, Linda rated it it was ok. Like another reader, I felt as though Antonetta kept me at arm's length. She obviously has great love and affection for her son, but something was just Aug 31, Leeann rated it it was ok Shelves: , memoir. This book had some good insights, but the author completely lost me in the telling. It felt impersonal to me. I always felt as though I was being held at arm's length. Aug 05, Alisha rated it really liked it Shelves: autobiography-memoir , non-fiction.

It took me about fifteen to twenty pages before I got into the book, but I'm glad I didn't put it down. As someone who wants to adopt in the future and from South Korea, no less , this book offered wonderful and honest insights into the adoption process and, most of all, to the emotional journey that adoptive parents and their kids go through.

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There are times when the book waxes poetic, which was nice occasionally but also distracting for me. Nevertheless, this is quite a good read, and if you' It took me about fifteen to twenty pages before I got into the book, but I'm glad I didn't put it down. Nevertheless, this is quite a good read, and if you're considering adopting, have adopted, or are just interested in adoption, I recommend this book.

I have read a great deal of adoption literature written by people representing varied perspectives within the adoption "constellation:" adopted adults, parents who have adopted, parents who have relinquished their children, and professionals and paraprofessionals who work with and support them. I have found a number of memoirs within the adoption genre to be challenging reads that are often too narrow in scope. Make Me a Mother by Susanne Antonetta is a refreshing and honest adoption memoir.

Her I have read a great deal of adoption literature written by people representing varied perspectives within the adoption "constellation:" adopted adults, parents who have adopted, parents who have relinquished their children, and professionals and paraprofessionals who work with and support them.

Her statement, "I loved him, yet I did not yet love him," caused me, as a parent through adoption myself, to feel early on that the memoir was spot on. I thought of her every day and imagined my life differently. My relationship with my mom is good but there is a tension that will probably never go away. I guard my relationship with my husband and children fiercely because of my past. Everything she wrote resonated with me. Some of the quotes are profound. I am glad for time alone. The long stretches of time that I spent in my room as a young girl balanced me.

In my room, the world felt small and manageable. You left, you took the easy road out. I wish I could trust you. Sometimes I wish I had that mom. I need it often, this solitude, this time to think and figure things out. That in overcoming the pain you have not had to close off your emotional self. That you are keeping in touch with your soul. It is no mistake that I have a daughter to teach me about the things I still need to learn.

I write to understand myself and lure the voice inside me out of hiding. Sometime amends come in other ways…that you have great family. Such an emotional read that will leave you vulnerable and a longing for the tender hearts of children. May 29, Deah rated it liked it. I was hovering between 3 and 4 stars- I liked the book, trying to decide if I "really" liked it. I decided to go with four because it is really well written.

I found I had a hard time identifying with the author due to two decisions she makes. One, to leave her own children and husband on Christmas day to be with her dying mother okay typing out that sentence it looks horrible but as we all know from the blurb, this is her dying mother who abandoned the entire family when the author was a young I was hovering between 3 and 4 stars- I liked the book, trying to decide if I "really" liked it. One, to leave her own children and husband on Christmas day to be with her dying mother okay typing out that sentence it looks horrible but as we all know from the blurb, this is her dying mother who abandoned the entire family when the author was a young child.

Two, at the end where she says "I wouldn't trade my mom for any other in the world" and when her brother tells her "There are no rules to forgiveness". Actually, there are. You have to admit what you did was wrong and ask forgiveness from the people you wronged. I am glad that the author found acceptance. I think you can find acceptance but not forgive. I am still trying to find acceptance in some of the decisions my own mother made, and maybe when I am older, I'll be able to find it, or even forgive. But not yet.

My book club is reading this book for this month but I just can't go to that meeting.

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Obviously I have stuff to work through. Aug 18, Lauriann rated it liked it. This was a fast read for me, and an interesting one. The author recalls a pivotal childhood moment of waving goodbye to her mother from her window.


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From that point on she suffered issues of abandonment as she longed for her mother to return. As she became an adult, anger and resentment became stronger, but the desire for a connection never left her. Melissa loves her children and expresses concern that there could be something hereditary that will cause her in any way to act as her mother did. G This was a fast read for me, and an interesting one.

Given all she went through, I'm amazed and impressed at what a good mother she became. As a reader whose mother's love and presence never wavered, this book blessed me with feeling fortunate for all I had and also for all I was able to give to my own. In our family tree there is a situation of maternal abandonment, though in a "softer" context. Maybe that is why I found the subject fascinating. I like when books help us to understand ourselves and those whom we have known. I would have liked a stronger sense of closure at the end, even if it was in the form of the strength of the father in the situation.

Nov 11, Barbara rated it liked it. I wouldn't trade my mom for any other mom in the world? I couldn't understand that statement after reading how selfishly this woman walked away from 3 children and her husband. Most of the time I felt sorry for the author and didn't understand why she needed to visit her mom at the end of her life. There was no "Im sorry for being a terrible mother and deserting you and your brothers". Sounds like her brothers did not do well. It was well written but very sad. As a daughter of a wonderful Mom of I wouldn't trade my mom for any other mom in the world?

As a daughter of a wonderful Mom of 8, I was blessed by a woman who loved and cared for us and never checked out because she wasn't being fulfilled. She passed last year and we miss her every day.

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She was a mom, sadly the author's mom was not. Jun 10, Jessica Jeffers rated it really liked it Shelves: biography-memoir. Like a punch in the gut -- this had me in tears by the second page. Feb 24, Erin Shiba rated it it was ok Shelves: memoir. This memoir falls firmly into the category of "I'm sorry that your life sucked but that doesn't mean that you should write about it. It's hard to be a little girl without a mother. It's hard to be a big girl without a mother.

And some of the ramifications of that raised by Cistaros are interesting and worthy of thought: How will my mothering be af This memoir falls firmly into the category of "I'm sorry that your life sucked but that doesn't mean that you should write about it. And some of the ramifications of that raised by Cistaros are interesting and worthy of thought: How will my mothering be affected by my lack of one?

How much of the desire to escape from my children is genetic? How much am I going to fuck up my own kids? I haven't seen these thoughts explored elsewhere and I appreciate them, in concept. However, I found the voice of this book to be mediocre at best, trite at worst. Details that I assume were added to flesh out a scene, but that were not relevant enough or evocative enough to resonate, should have just been edited out. Asides in the thought process that were meant to be revelatory felt obvious or tired.

The whole piece could have used a harsh round of workshopping and cut by at least a third. I always feel like a jackass talking this way about what is essentially someone laying bare their very personal thoughts and experiences, but for me, content will never trump style. And style, voice, resonance, were all seriously lacking in this endeavor.

An advanced reader copy was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Sorry guys. View 1 comment. May 05, Kasa Cotugno rated it it was amazing Shelves: genre-biography-memoir , author-visit , arc , theme-out-of-the-fire , audio , themes-family. It took Melissa Cistaro twelve years to write this story, parts of which were extremely painful.

Set against the six days she spent at her mother's bedside during her final days, she goes back over their unconventional relationship beginning when her mother abruptly left when Melissa was only three years old, claiming it was "just too much, three children. Now a mother of three herself, Melissa It took Melissa Cistaro twelve years to write this story, parts of which were extremely painful. Now a mother of three herself, Melissa is a loving and compassionate person who would never think of doing such a thing, holding no residual anger towards her mother with the "desertion gene.

He is the hero of this book, although Melissa focusses on her free spirited mother. I'll be processing this one for awhile. I confess I read it because Cistaro is a local author and I think we even have a couple of friends in common, and not because the subject matter was of particular interest to me. It turns out that every reason why I thought it wouldn't matter to me is why this book impacted me so deeply.

I didn't, however, break down into tears, which is kind of what I was hoping for, hence the four-star rating versus five. This is is a heartbreaking tale about forgiveness I'll be processing this one for awhile. This is is a heartbreaking tale about forgiveness and overcoming really crappy odds. It is also beautifully written and the descriptions are so vivid.

Typically, I read at bedtime and fall asleep and forget where I was and have to start over the next night , but this one I'd make time for. I couldn't stop rooting for her. I am so fascinated by and in support of people who thrive, despite having grown up in terrible neglect and abuse. It speaks to the heartiness of the human spirit. Feb 29, Colleen rated it it was ok Shelves: essay-and-biography , audiobook , book-club.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't nearly as interesting as the blurb made it sound. The author lays bare her damaged relationship with her mother and dealing with her mother's failing health. In the process, the author fixates on her mother's absence and how it impacted her life. Along the way, she seems to over-compensate for the lack her mother by being the "perfect" mother herself. While I'm sure the process of writing this was both cathartic and painful, the result is a pret I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't nearly as interesting as the blurb made it sound.

While I'm sure the process of writing this was both cathartic and painful, the result is a pretty bland book. Mar 24, Rhonda Lomazow rated it it was amazing. An absolutely heartbreaking book. Melissa shares with us the sadness of being abandoned by her mother as a child. A very brave book that I will not forget. Feb 10, Rachel Watkins rated it really liked it Shelves: memoir , arc. This candid and heart-breaking family history is beautifully written with deep honest assessments of the impact one mother had on the daughter she abandoned.

This is a deep and emotional piece of work. Apr 26, Christine rated it really liked it. Very good book about a mother and daughter bond that is very messed up but stays strong. Feb 23, Jen rated it really liked it. Really good quick read! Jul 07, Nicole rated it it was ok Shelves: nonfiction.

I was initially drawn to this book because I had similar issues in my own childhood though paternal vs. However, despite such heartbreaking subject matter, this book never really moved me, and I'm having a hard time pin-pointing exactly why that is.


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  • The writing is quite good, on many levels, with realistic dialogue and descriptive details that seem to accurately capture each time a I was initially drawn to this book because I had similar issues in my own childhood though paternal vs. The writing is quite good, on many levels, with realistic dialogue and descriptive details that seem to accurately capture each time and place.

    And very early in the book, there is a moment when Cistaro's young daughter just won't go to sleep and I could sympathize fully. She writes, "She doesn't understand that I am goddamn tired" and then discusses all the things that she has to do before she, too, can fall into bed. At that moment, I was getting excited about the book because I thought, here is a book that is going to get real about how demanding, gut-wrenching, and tiring parenting is. However, from that moment on, we see no more of Cistaro's own parenting struggles though she does briefly mention that she finds her escape through writing.

    Instead, she seems bent on proving that she is the perfect parent because she doesn't leave her children in the care of others apparently, she feels that kids being raised by working mothers are somehow being deprived. She also feels she owes it to her husband and kids to be the one who cleans up after them, and she doesn't really mind that the house will be in shambles when she returns from caring for her dying mother. I guess what bothers me most about this book is that I didn't feel there was any point to it, that I gained any insight.

    Most of the time, Cistaro paints herself as a victim incapable of standing up for herself in any situation and depicts her very normal teenage experiences of experimenting with alcohol and sex as if they were a result of her mother's abandonment. She breezes over the fact that she was lucky enough to be raised by a mostly stable though flawed, but what parent isn't?

    She seems to have no awareness of the double standard that society holds for men and women. For example, fathers leave their families all the time without society or their children judging them very harshly. There is a bit of reflection on addiction and a tragedy that befell her mom early in life, but again, most of us have dealt with tragedy and addiction in our lives or families, and no real insight or depth of understanding is developed here.

    As the book comes to a close, we see Cistaro impatiently waiting for her mother to die so she can get back to continuing her quest to be the perfect mother. The epilogue provides a twist that is meant to portray a postmortem reconciliation of sorts with her mother, but to me, it seems forced. I am disappointed because I see no "hard-won wisdom" about relationships, parenting, or forgiveness, no maturing of Cistaro's perspective as the book progresses.

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