website statistics Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race, and Themselves - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race, and Themselves

Availability: Ready to download

The challenges facing mothers in the twenty-first century go well beyond tantrum control and potty training. Camille Peri and Kate Moses, the founding editors of Salon.com's "Mothers Who Think" column and the subsequent anthology of the same name, have once again compiled a selection of intimate and fiercely honest essays on the profound issues that affect women and their The challenges facing mothers in the twenty-first century go well beyond tantrum control and potty training. Camille Peri and Kate Moses, the founding editors of Salon.com's "Mothers Who Think" column and the subsequent anthology of the same name, have once again compiled a selection of intimate and fiercely honest essays on the profound issues that affect women and their children. Because I Said So offers thirty-three unique perspectives on motherhood from such writers as Janet Fitch, Mariane Pearl, Ayelet Waldman, Mary Roach, Rosellen Brown, Mary Morris, and Ana Castillo. Witty and wise, their stories range from the anguish of giving up child custody to the guilt of having sex in an era of sexless marriages; from learning to love the full-speed testosterone chaos of boys to raising girls in a pervasively sexualized culture; from facing racial and religious intolerance to surviving cancer and rap simultaneously. This is the collective voice of real mothers in all their humor, anger, vulnerability, grace, and glory.


Compare

The challenges facing mothers in the twenty-first century go well beyond tantrum control and potty training. Camille Peri and Kate Moses, the founding editors of Salon.com's "Mothers Who Think" column and the subsequent anthology of the same name, have once again compiled a selection of intimate and fiercely honest essays on the profound issues that affect women and their The challenges facing mothers in the twenty-first century go well beyond tantrum control and potty training. Camille Peri and Kate Moses, the founding editors of Salon.com's "Mothers Who Think" column and the subsequent anthology of the same name, have once again compiled a selection of intimate and fiercely honest essays on the profound issues that affect women and their children. Because I Said So offers thirty-three unique perspectives on motherhood from such writers as Janet Fitch, Mariane Pearl, Ayelet Waldman, Mary Roach, Rosellen Brown, Mary Morris, and Ana Castillo. Witty and wise, their stories range from the anguish of giving up child custody to the guilt of having sex in an era of sexless marriages; from learning to love the full-speed testosterone chaos of boys to raising girls in a pervasively sexualized culture; from facing racial and religious intolerance to surviving cancer and rap simultaneously. This is the collective voice of real mothers in all their humor, anger, vulnerability, grace, and glory.

30 review for Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race, and Themselves

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Marie

    I don't usually read a lot of essay books but I really enjoyed this one. (well worth the one dollar I paid for it) If you ever read it I have madea list of the essays that I thought are worth reading and the ones that are a MUST READ. ask me for it! There were some interesting things about life and loss and mother/teenager relationships and about surrogacy, and some definatly well written ones about race and diversity. I will for sure pick this one up to read again. I think I enjoyed it most bec I don't usually read a lot of essay books but I really enjoyed this one. (well worth the one dollar I paid for it) If you ever read it I have madea list of the essays that I thought are worth reading and the ones that are a MUST READ. ask me for it! There were some interesting things about life and loss and mother/teenager relationships and about surrogacy, and some definatly well written ones about race and diversity. I will for sure pick this one up to read again. I think I enjoyed it most because of in my life right now I have a child and I was a child not very long ago so I connected with a lot of the stories!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Fultz

    I read this for the Ayelet Waldman essay which is staggering and wise.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ciara

    a collection of essays on being a mother. this is in fact the second anthology generated by salon.com's defunct "mothers who think" column. can't pretend that i am crazy about the "mothers who think" moniker. doesn't that imply that there are also mothers (presumably, not salon.com readers) that don't think? while that may be true, it seems unnecessarily judgmental & dichotic, as do more than a few of these essays. i don't think the contributors necessarily intend to come across as smug know-it- a collection of essays on being a mother. this is in fact the second anthology generated by salon.com's defunct "mothers who think" column. can't pretend that i am crazy about the "mothers who think" moniker. doesn't that imply that there are also mothers (presumably, not salon.com readers) that don't think? while that may be true, it seems unnecessarily judgmental & dichotic, as do more than a few of these essays. i don't think the contributors necessarily intend to come across as smug know-it-alls casting aspersions on other women's parenting techniques...but that is what happens sometimes. as with any book of essays, i enjoyed some entries more than others. i found the first essay in the book, about a young muslim single mother facing expulsion from her mosque due to having a child out of wedlock, nearly impossible to read. i feel for her situation & am on her side & all that good stuff, but jeez louise. this was the most grandstanding, soap boxiest thing i have read in my entire life, which is really saying something, when you consider all the anarchist literature i have read in my life. i almost just put the book down & abandoned it based on that one essay, but i'm glad i persevered because the rest of the book is a lot more readable. there are some misses, including the piece from the smug french lady who spends five pages condemning americans for having nannies (even though most american mothers do not in fact have nannies), only to turn around & admit that she inherited a home in california & hired herself a nanny to boot. she ultimately comes to distrust her nanny because she feels that the nanny & the author's daughter are too emotionally attached to one another. great story. just what i always wanted: to read the nanny diaries from the perspective of the asshole mom. she even includes an aside about how she herself was raised in part by a mexican nanny as a child, & how her mother traveled down to mexico in order to try to sneak the nanny's children across the border. it did not work. her mother spent the rest of her life wondering, "did i do the right thing?" what, get everyone's hopes up for an emotional reunion & a brand new life, only to have them dashed by border guards that any idiot could have seen coming? yeah, you probably did the exact opposite of the right thing. there are other pieces i wasn't crazy about either, but it's definitely a hugely varying collection, & when it's good, it's really really good. it definitely paints a somewhat realistic portrait of motherhood (we'll just leave aside the fact that pretty much every contributer is a professional, published author, or a professional in some other field, benefiting from tremendous amounts of class privilege, but blinkered in that uniquely american liberal way to said privileges--the piece about the wealthy woman who ran an advertising agency but lost it all & had to support her family by running a cleaning & housepainting service was pretty fucking tough to take as someone who actually grew up poor & is not interested in reading about the shame of rich people falling on hard times), & all kinds of different families are represented, which is cool. i guess it was pretty much what i expected.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Frank Jude

    I savored this book! Edited by Camille Peri and Kate Moses, the founding editors of Salon.com's "Mothers Who Think" column (and the anthology of the same name) put together this anthology of 33 essays written by a diverse group of brave women about the challenges, joys and pains of motherhood. I say brave because they are -- for the most part -- unflinching in their honesty and naked revelations. This isn't to say this is a "heavy" read! There are some essays that made me laugh my ass off! And pl I savored this book! Edited by Camille Peri and Kate Moses, the founding editors of Salon.com's "Mothers Who Think" column (and the anthology of the same name) put together this anthology of 33 essays written by a diverse group of brave women about the challenges, joys and pains of motherhood. I say brave because they are -- for the most part -- unflinching in their honesty and naked revelations. This isn't to say this is a "heavy" read! There are some essays that made me laugh my ass off! And plenty of sweet, poignancy is to be found here as well. But there are those that feel more like a kick to the solar plexus: tales of domestic abuse that made my blood boil; dealing with raising children in a hyper-sexualized and misogynist culture; dealing with racial, religious and ethic intolerance; illness and death. This is no "Hallmark" vaseline-lensed view of motherhood! The closing piece from Kate Moses reads like a suspense tale, a romance, and a meditation on mortality. I LOVED this final piece, and it seems to have tied together all the various threads of the previous 32 essays. Her essay centers around her obsessive pilgrimage to Cairo to see one portrait in particular from the famous Fayum portraits that had resonated with her loss of her third child in pregnancy. Her bio says she is at work on a novel inspired by these portraits, and her essay makes me eager for her to complete and publish it! The following is an excerpt that just blew my heart open: "...I knelt on the floor in front of Demos. Since I first saw her face that spring I had wondered what happened to her -- she was so young, her baby so small! Now in the same room with her, what mattered most to me was imagining how she felt as she met the intensity of the artists's gaze with her own. Demos's expression was not so simple as obligation filtered through religious belief and culture. Hers is the face of a woman who knows she is confronting the end of her life, and the end of her child's life. In her eyes is a profound knowledge of loss, of sorrow, and pity. All of it, soon, will be lost to her: the tenderness of her loved ones, the suckling of her baby, the Nile's reliable cycle of ebb and flow, the calling of the birds, and the scent of honey and mint. She knows that life itself has brought her to this moment; painful as it is to face, she does not look away. To deny this moment is to deny all the moments before." If you'd like another sampling, visit her website here: http://www.katemoses.com/site/books/b...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I am really enjoying this book and recommend it to all mothers (parents) honest accounts of the joys and frustration of parenting - my daughter is 24 but it is still relevant - is bringing back memories - making me laugh and at times giving me a little PTSD - I think that so often we (women) are afraid to admit that we are challenged by our children - that we feel we have to say the kids are great and we love every minute of it - for me this was not true - I love and adore my daughter - but at t I am really enjoying this book and recommend it to all mothers (parents) honest accounts of the joys and frustration of parenting - my daughter is 24 but it is still relevant - is bringing back memories - making me laugh and at times giving me a little PTSD - I think that so often we (women) are afraid to admit that we are challenged by our children - that we feel we have to say the kids are great and we love every minute of it - for me this was not true - I love and adore my daughter - but at times she drove me crazy (still does) at times I felt as if I failed ( these feelings also resurface)I know that I struggle with "doing it all" wanting everyone to think I have it all together all of the time - but I can't and I do not - I would love women to read this book and realize that no one can do it all - this book is also good for those who are thinking of having kids - raising children is NOT like a lifetime movie - it is HARD - it can be amusing but if you are not careful you will give up more of yourself then you thought possible find help and support - extended family, good friends, neighbors - it really does take a village and I do believe that children who have an extended network of people who love them and protect them are children who feel safer and will be more successful I am now off my soap box - happy holidays to all!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Oraynab Jwayyed

    I enjoyed this book much more than I anticipated, mainly because personal essay-based books are all I've been reading lately. What I enjoyed about this one was my ability and desire to relate to many of the writers. Whereas in the past I would have started in on my self-righteous moral compass on those essays that discussed infidelity or abandoning children, I found myself understanding the arguments made by the women who were vilified for those decisions. Not that I sympathized with those essay I enjoyed this book much more than I anticipated, mainly because personal essay-based books are all I've been reading lately. What I enjoyed about this one was my ability and desire to relate to many of the writers. Whereas in the past I would have started in on my self-righteous moral compass on those essays that discussed infidelity or abandoning children, I found myself understanding the arguments made by the women who were vilified for those decisions. Not that I sympathized with those essays that contradicted my principals, but I was able to understand the women behind these moral atrocities as mothers who sacrificed for their children. There's the story of the Reverend Jesse Jackson's mistress, who until her essay went into print refuses to identify him as her daughter's father to spare his reputation. I had to dig the long trenches of online information to make the link. Then there's the mother who opted to give her husband full custody of her daughter to preserve her independence. Collectively, Because I Said So is a compilation of essays throughout contemporary times of mothers and the challenges they faced, why they were made to face them, and how they survived. It would have earned 5 stars had it omitted three or four rather boring and meaningless essays, but nonetheless, a good book - one that should be read by current mothers and mothers-to-be.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susie Chocolate

    The founding mothers of Salon.com's "Mothers who think" column and the subsequent anthology of the same name have gathered and edited essays on Motherhood from differing perspectives which makes for an enjoyable and diverse read. I enjoyed this book because I really like the short story form and this book is essentially 33 short stories. 33 different women have written essays on motherhood, all from very different view points and walks of life. You read of the African American Mother who moves fr The founding mothers of Salon.com's "Mothers who think" column and the subsequent anthology of the same name have gathered and edited essays on Motherhood from differing perspectives which makes for an enjoyable and diverse read. I enjoyed this book because I really like the short story form and this book is essentially 33 short stories. 33 different women have written essays on motherhood, all from very different view points and walks of life. You read of the African American Mother who moves from LA to NYC with her white husband where the acceptance of a racially mixed marriage is not so widely accepted as it was in California and where she is continuously assumed to be the "nanny" to her light skinned daughter to the young mother from Guatemala who runs away to the United States and seeks asylum from an incredibly abusive husband, in order to save her own life from imminent death, with the hopes that in the long run, she can slowly, bring her children over to live with her to Mothers who have returned to work but continue to struggle with their decisions. Very diverse stories. I read a story every day or so and loved this format.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    I would like to have a massive dinner party with all of these women. I would like to sit and have coffee and tea with some of them, have some of them on speed-dial so I can reach them, and others, I would simply like in my "village". Some of their honesty made me mad, but as a mother, I respect other mother's views and emotions. We all do not feel the same way about things or when dealing with similar situations. That is a major life lesson! Some of the writings had to be scary to write and shar I would like to have a massive dinner party with all of these women. I would like to sit and have coffee and tea with some of them, have some of them on speed-dial so I can reach them, and others, I would simply like in my "village". Some of their honesty made me mad, but as a mother, I respect other mother's views and emotions. We all do not feel the same way about things or when dealing with similar situations. That is a major life lesson! Some of the writings had to be scary to write and share with the world. The horrible and scary things that these women have gone through, and yet shared, make me feel blessed for my life. While I have had challenges, wow, some of these women are truly super heroes. I think all moms should read this book - as it makes motherhood real, shows real feelings, emotions, and issues. There is no sugar coating here - just real life mother stuff in all its disgusting, funny, loving, painful, joyous parts and pieces.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Honestly, I haven't finished this book yet and I probably won't for a while. What I have read has generally been very entertaining. There are some wonderful essays, a couple of which I can identify with. There are, however, MANY esssays about divorced families and I can not relate to those at all. The one essay that touched me most was Mariane Pearl's "On Giving Hope". Silly me didn't realize this was Daniel Pearl's wife right away, but halfway through, it clicked and reading her story of how sh Honestly, I haven't finished this book yet and I probably won't for a while. What I have read has generally been very entertaining. There are some wonderful essays, a couple of which I can identify with. There are, however, MANY esssays about divorced families and I can not relate to those at all. The one essay that touched me most was Mariane Pearl's "On Giving Hope". Silly me didn't realize this was Daniel Pearl's wife right away, but halfway through, it clicked and reading her story of how she faced Daniel's captivity and execution was amazing. I remember wondering how she could possibly deal with it and how she managed to stay so strong through it all when it first hit the news. It is the most tragic love story I've ever known. She is an amazing woman and he was an amazing man, and I highly, highly recommend this book for at least this one essay.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    I had a hard time putting this book down. I think I was captivated because it was very honest, from-the-heart words. Even though the women came from all different walks of life (sorry for the cliche!), there was a common thread as they considered their roles as women and wives and mothers. I came away grateful for my sweet husband and for the gift of these three children, who I am trying desperately to raise well. The last story, written by a 40-year-old woman who had lost a pregnancy and was fo I had a hard time putting this book down. I think I was captivated because it was very honest, from-the-heart words. Even though the women came from all different walks of life (sorry for the cliche!), there was a common thread as they considered their roles as women and wives and mothers. I came away grateful for my sweet husband and for the gift of these three children, who I am trying desperately to raise well. The last story, written by a 40-year-old woman who had lost a pregnancy and was forced to face her declining body, hit home with me in light of my own physical concerns during the past year or so. As always, I am thankful above all else for God, who gives my life meaning and lights up my future with incredible joy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    For some reason I am always drawn to these essay collection books - about all subjects. I think they are going to be so interesting and great and they are usually OK. Because I Said So is a collection of essays by women about being mothers. Even though I don't have kids and don't really plan on having kids, I am still fascinated by these kind of stories. I think if you are a mother you would probably enjoy this because you could relate to the authors, but non-mothers can enjoy it too. Sometimes For some reason I am always drawn to these essay collection books - about all subjects. I think they are going to be so interesting and great and they are usually OK. Because I Said So is a collection of essays by women about being mothers. Even though I don't have kids and don't really plan on having kids, I am still fascinated by these kind of stories. I think if you are a mother you would probably enjoy this because you could relate to the authors, but non-mothers can enjoy it too. Sometimes reading stuff like this reinforces my decision to (most likely) not have kids, but it is still interesting reading.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    Supremely excellent collection. I enjoyed most all of these slices of life from intelligent, interesting mothers. I particularly enjoyed the story of Denise Minor, "There's No Being Sad Here" which is a piercingly accurate story of growing up alongside an autistic son, as well as the wry "Material Girls" from Margaret Talbot, a commentary on the American Girls craze. "Harry Potter and Divorce Among the Muggles" "Why I Can Never Go Back to the French Laundry" (where I am clearly destined to eat, Supremely excellent collection. I enjoyed most all of these slices of life from intelligent, interesting mothers. I particularly enjoyed the story of Denise Minor, "There's No Being Sad Here" which is a piercingly accurate story of growing up alongside an autistic son, as well as the wry "Material Girls" from Margaret Talbot, a commentary on the American Girls craze. "Harry Potter and Divorce Among the Muggles" "Why I Can Never Go Back to the French Laundry" (where I am clearly destined to eat, since I have now revelled in it from three separate books) and "Mother of the World" were all simply excellent. Thanks for the loan, Cary!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I initially picked this book up to read my friend Connie's essay "Divorce Among the Muggles." But then I kept reading, and found many delightful ponderings on modern motherhood. I didn't find all of them completely plausible (Ayelet Waldman I think was being deliberately provocative) but I read them all. I especially enjoyed the essay from those authors whose life experiences differed from my own. I initially picked this book up to read my friend Connie's essay "Divorce Among the Muggles." But then I kept reading, and found many delightful ponderings on modern motherhood. I didn't find all of them completely plausible (Ayelet Waldman I think was being deliberately provocative) but I read them all. I especially enjoyed the essay from those authors whose life experiences differed from my own.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lachelle

    I listened to an interview with Ayelet Waldman (who wrote an essay in this book) on the May 5, 2009 NPR Fresh Air podcast. It was a captivating interview (can I say that--do I sound like a podcast critic?). OK, Waldman's interview was way more interesting than her essay. My favorites were: Two Heads Are Better Than Three (Mary Roach), Harry Potter and Divorce Among the Muggles (Constance Matthiessen) and No Blame (Rosellen Brown). I listened to an interview with Ayelet Waldman (who wrote an essay in this book) on the May 5, 2009 NPR Fresh Air podcast. It was a captivating interview (can I say that--do I sound like a podcast critic?). OK, Waldman's interview was way more interesting than her essay. My favorites were: Two Heads Are Better Than Three (Mary Roach), Harry Potter and Divorce Among the Muggles (Constance Matthiessen) and No Blame (Rosellen Brown).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dottie

    Short stories - though I'm not usually a fan of short stories (I feel like by the time I get interested/care...it ends). First story about a Pakistani girl who is unmarried and has a child....men of her mosque put her on trial for not conforming to many muslin dictates. Second story is about the struggles of a blended family...and the third about the history and phenomenon of The American Girl dolls (very interesting). Some of the stories are very good/well written and others not so much. Short stories - though I'm not usually a fan of short stories (I feel like by the time I get interested/care...it ends). First story about a Pakistani girl who is unmarried and has a child....men of her mosque put her on trial for not conforming to many muslin dictates. Second story is about the struggles of a blended family...and the third about the history and phenomenon of The American Girl dolls (very interesting). Some of the stories are very good/well written and others not so much.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alejandra Bernal

    My favorite essays, in no particular order, were The Scarlet Letter Z, On Giving Hope, There's No Being Sad Here, Motherlove, Chaos Theory, and Why I Left My Children. Nevertheless, those were simply my favorite, but the other essays had their own fair share of smiles. Definetly recommend this book, as it is a collection of stories from completely different backgrounds and women, yet it shows that motherly love is pretty much universal, and bonds the world in ways one would never imagine. My favorite essays, in no particular order, were The Scarlet Letter Z, On Giving Hope, There's No Being Sad Here, Motherlove, Chaos Theory, and Why I Left My Children. Nevertheless, those were simply my favorite, but the other essays had their own fair share of smiles. Definetly recommend this book, as it is a collection of stories from completely different backgrounds and women, yet it shows that motherly love is pretty much universal, and bonds the world in ways one would never imagine.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Herman

    Anyone who is a mother (or parent) will enjoy this collection of short stories. I enjoyed the short story aspect because it is summer, but it was wonderful to hear about so many different types of relationships that women have with their children. It seemed after reading this book I was bringing it up in conversations many times.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Aisha Hanif

    Really enjoyed these essays on current motherhood. It took me about 5 months to read this, as I would read a few essays, then read another book, but one of the few essay compilations that I read in the given order. Particularly resonant with me was the essay "Boys! Give me Boys!" as I am currently the parent of two young boys, and many of my peers are parents only to sons. Really enjoyed these essays on current motherhood. It took me about 5 months to read this, as I would read a few essays, then read another book, but one of the few essay compilations that I read in the given order. Particularly resonant with me was the essay "Boys! Give me Boys!" as I am currently the parent of two young boys, and many of my peers are parents only to sons.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kaelyn

    This one is a bit hard to rate since it is a compilation of 33 authors in one book. Overall, I would say the authors are very good. I enjoyed some stories more than others, related more to some over others, etc. I was easy to pick up and read a story or two at a time. I like reading other perspectives, so it was good as far as that goes too.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Great collection of essays. Some are quite poetic in style, others prosaic but all have Motherhood and its issues and rewards as a partial theme. I quite enjoyed them all even when I couldn't relate to all of their stories. Great collection of essays. Some are quite poetic in style, others prosaic but all have Motherhood and its issues and rewards as a partial theme. I quite enjoyed them all even when I couldn't relate to all of their stories.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    I really like reading essays by mothers describing some part of their lives, especially when they're living lives so remote from mine. That's part of why I like "Brain, Child" magazine so much. Reading these essays, I got to think a lot of things I'd never have thought on my own. I really like reading essays by mothers describing some part of their lives, especially when they're living lives so remote from mine. That's part of why I like "Brain, Child" magazine so much. Reading these essays, I got to think a lot of things I'd never have thought on my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Anderson

    Don't let the title or the cover dissuade you, this book was a surprisingly moving and poignant account of motherhood and womanhood by 33 different authors, some very well known, others not so much. Every essay had something meaningful and thought provoking to offer. I really enjoyed it. Don't let the title or the cover dissuade you, this book was a surprisingly moving and poignant account of motherhood and womanhood by 33 different authors, some very well known, others not so much. Every essay had something meaningful and thought provoking to offer. I really enjoyed it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    MaryJo

    Compelling essay, but definitely not a quick read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Astrodon Johnstoni

    This is the brainiest book of mom essays I ever read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    A diverse collection of maternal perspective, in easy-to-divvy essays. This was great bedtime reading.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kaza

    Absolute sanctuary is what any mother will find herein, as well as inspiration, encouragement, and a lot of laughs.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This was a bookclub choice. I was expecting something funny or enlightening, but it was just mini-memoirs. It didn't do much for me. This was a bookclub choice. I was expecting something funny or enlightening, but it was just mini-memoirs. It didn't do much for me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    Meh.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    I got about halfway through. It was...depressing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    Devoured this book after Joe was born.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...