Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ruth Reichl's revisions: "For You, Mom, Finally"

In April when I reviewed Ruth Reichl's Not Becoming My Mother, I didn't realize it had just been reissued in paperback under a different name: For You, Mom, Finally. With Mother's Day coming up, the publisher may have noticed that the original title was not going to get the book featured in any gift displays.

The new title is more appropriate, really. Reichl often did not understand her flamboyant, troubled mother and sometimes nearly cut off contact with her, but without a doubt she loved her. Especially after she finally got up the courage to read through a dusty old box of her mother's letters and journals.

I won't say any more about the book since I thoroughly reviewed it here, except to  note that Reichl has written a new Afterword about readers' responses to the hardcover edition. Apparently a lot of women, like her, don't want to become their mothers. Most striking, however, was a comment from a woman young enough to be Reichl's daughter: "Ms. Reichl, I don't want to become you."

Reichl and I are about the same age. I can't speak for her, but I'm guessing she might agree: I don't want to become my mother (though that would not be a bad thing), and I don't want my daughters to become me. It's challenging enough just to become ourselves.

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