Friday, March 5, 2010

#BookReview: Blog Tour: Mother-Daughter Duet - Cheri Fuller & Ali Plum

I was hesitant to read this when I saw the subtitle of Mother-Daughter Duet is "Getting to the Relationship You Want with Your Adult Daughter," but I realized as an adult daughter, it might be helpful in understanding my relationship with my mother. Written by real life mother-daughter duo Cheri Fuller and Ali Plum, this book offers nothing we don't already know, but it presents different ways of looking at situations.

Daughters, how many times as an adult has your mother corrected you or added her two cents even when you didn't ask or want it? Mothers, how many times have you commented on something your daughter is wearing or some other miscellaneous thing, only to have her fly into a full blown rant which ends with her stomping out of the room or house? As a daughter, did you pledge to raise your daughter differently from the way you were raised, only to find that you've raised her the same way you were raised and now she pledges the same? Every mother-daughter relationship you can imagine is touched upon here.

While reading I found myself thinking back on the relationship I have with my mother versus the relationship my younger sister has with her. I'm sixteen years older than my sister so I've known my mother at a different phase of her life and I deal with her accordingly. My mother can be abrasive, saying things that would have hurt my feelings years ago. I've learned to either calmly call her on it, which usually prompts a response, "That's not what I meant by that," or let it roll off my back like water on a duck's behind. My sister, on the other hand, flies into a rage and storms out of the house.

I can remember a few Thanksgivings ago, my sister's first at home since she'd graduated college that May. She came home that Wednesday to find that her bedroom had been turned into a guest room. I got a call from her a little before midnight ranting about how my mother threw all of her stuff out and took over her room and all her prized possessions were gone, blah, blah, blah. I asked to speak to my cousin (yes, my cousin, because this nut had stormed out of the house in the middle of the night and called my cousin to pick her up because if she didn't have a room in THAT house then obviously she wasn't welcome there and wasn't going to stay), and told her that I would be at my mother's the next morning to cook and I'd call her and let her know the situation.

I arrived at the house and started cooking. I wasn't going to bring up the fight from the night before or ask where my sister was, but it was obvious that my mother wanted to talk about it. She started by saying she hadn't thrown my sister's "stuff" out. Now I knew that without looking. My mother still has my yearbooks from grade school, I knew good and well she hadn't thrown anything out. I just nodded my head and let her talk. Throughout the morning I played mediator, looking in the basement and garage to confirm that every item my sister had left behind was indeed stored somewhere. Never mind that this woman told us all upon graduation that she was never moving back home, the thought that she might not have a come to come home to threw her for a loop. For all of her bravado, she was still a scared child.

I reminded my sister that when I left for college, she took over my room. I didn't rant or throw a tantrum because I knew that if I ever needed to come back home, I'd have a place to stay. My siblings and I are all adults and we all have keys to my mother's house. There's no need to announce that you're coming, simply let yourself in, make yourself at home and clean up after yourself.

I watch my sister shoot herself in the foot over and over again because she misinterprets what my mother is saying or won't take the time to talk things out civilly. I'm not letting my mother off the hook though. I'm fully aware that at times she says things to get a reaction, other times she's unaware that her words or actions are hurtful. I've learned to differentiate between the two and react accordingly. I'm passing a copy of this book on to both my mother and my sister in hopes that they'll read it and learn the difference.

I'm recommending this book to every woman that's a parent and/or the daughter of a living mother. No matter how strong or weak your relationship is with your parent or your daughter, there's something to be learned here.

What did you like about this book?
I loved the fact that it was told from the perspective of both mother and daughter. It made for a more complete understanding of the relationship that exists between the two.

What did you dislike about this book?

What could the author do to make this book better?
Nothing. Both authors seemed to be very open and honest about the roles they've played.

212 pp
Published February 2010
Available for purchase at Random House

Disclaimer: This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. In no way did the receipt of this book affect my review of it.
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