Thursday, November 02, 2006

Marilyn French, Motherhood and I

I just finished Marilyn French’s new novel In the Name of Friendship. I loved it. It’s one of those, “…how late can I stay up reading without risking sleep-deprived behavior the next day?kind of books.

Marilyn French’s first novel, The Women’s Room, was published in 1977 – the year I was married. That novel holds a place of honour on my all time greatest hits list. It made a lasting impression. I still remember the expression, “shit and green beans,” used to characterize motherhood. (I’m amazed I had children after reading the book.)

The Women’s Room taught me about choices – and that, yes, you can have it all but you will pay a price. It also taught me how essential it is for a woman to create and possess something of her very own with which to nourish her soul (beyond the blessed existence of her children).

Almost 30 years later, French’s new novel has found me once again in a time and place in my life where I can relate to her characters. My “nest” is becoming empty. I am so grateful to have my writing to fill the gap created by my children leaving this nest I so lovingly and painstakingly made for them. As that gap widens, my writing will expand to fill it.

Thank you, Marilyn French, for the warning in your first novel and for the affirmation as to all that a woman can be in your latest one.

Thank you also for acknowledging the guilt, sorrow (and, yes, anger) that is part and parcel of being a mother. The joys are obvious.

Both these novels celebrate the value of friendship among women – something I have learned for myself these past 30 years. I love my husband and sons dearly but when I want to be understood, I turn (with laughter or tears) to my female friends.

Read this book. Celebrate your life, your friendships and what it means to be a woman.


Anonymous said...

What?!??!! Are you saying that we, your sons and husband, do not understand you!!!!??? The outrage!

I thought we had somethin MA!

Megan said...

Why is it that men think they know all, when in fact they know so little - especially about us?