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Between Mothers and Sons
Women Writers Talk About Having Sons and Raising Men
Edited by Patricia Stevens

We were one of a minority of couples - one in ten, is it? one in a hundred?
-- who were hoping for a girl....

She so delighted us that three years later, we decided to try again. This time, I was older, and decided on an amniocentesis. We opted to know the gender of the fetus before it was born; we thought it was absurd that the lab technician should know more about our child-to-be than we did. The six weeks of waiting for the results of an amnio are among the longest days in anyone's life, and when the doctor called, saying he had good news, I was elated. "Everything's fine," he said. "It's perfectly healthy. And it's a boy!"

"Oh my God," I said. "What am I supposed to do with one of them?"

"They're very cute," the doctor said.

"Yes, but I don't know what to do with them."

He told me I'd figure it out.

Between Mothers and Sons is not an instruction manual. If you are searching for a book to tell you "what do do" with your sons, you'll need to keep looking. Or even "just figure it out."

So then what is this book? Between Mothers and Sons is a series of eighteen essays on raising sons, edited by Patricia Stevens (also the mother of sons.) The essays within celebrate all the emotions a mother may feel for her sons, ranging from tiger-fighting protection for the infant, to awe at their abilities and minds, confusion over the stages they will pass through, and pain at the possible distance that can arise in any parent/child relationship. All of the stories will touch you, some will contain insights never considered before, and I guarantee that at least one of them will resonate within you as you read it.

These essays highlight the closeness of the mother/son bond, and yet admit the distance, sometimes negligible and sometimes cavernous, that exists between a mother and her sons. The essays force one to think (and re-think) about one's expectations about raising sons. If you are like me, you'll laugh at many of the stories and feel a "zing" of familiarity with some; yet others will fill you with an intense sadness, coupled with a heartfelt wish that none of the issues outlined will ever occur within the context of your own relationship with your sons.

This book is great for those who have never been around little boys (and big boys, and young men). It will give insight into their minds and actions that you may never have considered.

It is also wonderful for those who, like me, have spent a lifetime surrounded by men and boys. It is a reminder of how they differ, and a cause of laughter as I think back on the boys and men I've known and see them in these essays.

I literally could not put it down (well, except to sleep; I'm still new-mom enough that NOTHING comes between me and my sleep) until I finished it. Each essay compelled me to finish reading it, and the enjoyment of THAT essay pulled me hopefully into the next one. None of the essays disappointed and the next thing I knew... I had read the entire book in two days!

Between Mothers and Sons is certainly not only about learning and analyzing the relationship in some abstract, sociological sense. It is also about laughing at what you read, empathizing with the mothers and sons portrayed, and having one's eyes opened to the different relationships and outcomes of parenting sons.

Essays within are contributed by: Julene Bair, Janet Burroway, Robb Forman Dew, Deborah Galyan, Mary Gordon, Joy Harjo, Anne Lamott, Susan Lester, Jo-Ann Mapson, Leigh McKinley, Valerie Monroe, Naomi Shihab Nye, Eileen Pollack, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Patricia Stevens, Sallie Tilsdale, Kris Vervaecke, and Patricia Williams.

Patricia Stevens has written essays that appear in Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul, as well as in The Healing Circle: Authors Writing of Recovery. She has received the James Michener Fellowship and the Nelson Algren Short Story Award. She is the mother of two sons and lives in Portland, Oregon.

To Purchase:
   • Between Mothers and Sons at
   • Between Mothers and Sons at Amazon UK
   • Between Mothers and Sons at Amazon Canada


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