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Now Read This! The Neverending Mother’s Day Story

Posted By Bethanne Patrick On May 2, 2013 @ 10:48 am In Entertainment | Comments Disabled

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As Mother’s Day [2] approaches, I’ve been thinking about the most powerful gift my mother ever gave me: my love of reading.

Not just any reading, mind you. When it became clear that 8-year-old finicky reader Bethanne Kelly was bored to death by age-appropriate bedtime tales, 35-year-old Julia Kelly quickly “thought outside the book”: She dug out her old college literature texts and started reading me the poetry, short stories and essays they contained.

That sounds sweet [3], doesn’t it? Sure – until you hear some of the titles Mrs. Kelly gleefully read her 3rd-grade daughter at bedtime:

“The Masque of the Red Death,” where costumed partygoers are felled by a mysterious plague.

“The Tell-Tale Heart,” where the murderer of an old man buries the dismembered body beneath the floor of his bedroom.

“The Cask of Amontillado,” where a dude gets buried alive.

I wasn’t a macabre kid – I swear! – but I loved the musicality of Poe’s prose. And the gift was less in what my mother read than in her willingness to stop feeding me those predictable Newberry- and Caldecott-stamped paperbacks (though I had plenty of those, too).

That sort of open mind and heart are precisely what I love about the book I’m recommending this week.

What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-One Women on the Gift That Mattered Most, edited by novelist Elizabeth Benedict, features fond-but-wise recollections by some high-candlepower daughters: Joyce Carol Oates, Roxana Robinson, Marge Piercy, Rita Dove – you get the picture. These essays are not fluff pieces. (Not a chocolate box or silk scarf in sight, I’m happy to report.) Instead they’re deeply considered, deeply felt writings on identity and relationships.

Some of the gifts received were objects: a gold dress; a bouquet of bat mitzvah flowers; a cake pan. Others were experiences: a boat trip around Manhattan; a year of sobriety. And still others were life-transforming: a passport.

Every gift described in What My Mother Gave Me will make you think – mostly, if you’re like me, of your own mother and the most cherished thing she passed along to you.

What did your mother give you that you will never forget?

 

Also of Interest

 

See the AARP home page [7] for deals, savings tips, trivia and more

 


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URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/05/02/now-read-this-the-neverending-mothers-day-story/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Benedict_WMMGM_Pbk_HR.jpg

[2] Mother’s Day: http://www.aarp.org/food/recipes/info-04-2013/mothers-day-culinary-traditions.html?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[3] sounds sweet: http://www.aarp.org/food/entertaining/info-05-2012/low-fat-recipes-mothers-day.html?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[4] Marlo Thomas’ Mother Day Tribute: http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/television/info-05-2011/marlo-thomas-mothers-day-tribute.html?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL

[5] 3 Pieces of Jewelry That Make You Look Younger: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/01/11/3-pieces-of-jewelry-that-make-you-look-younger/?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS

[6] Join AARP: https://appsec.aarp.org/MSS/join/application?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-MEM

[7] AARP home page: http://www.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-HP

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