on March 29, 2013 :
From the bold title of Not Like My Mother, I thought the book was going to be more about her relationship with her own mother. Chapter one is all about her relationship with her daughters. Then Chapter 2 was the back story for her mother's life. There did not seem to be much interaction between herself and her mother. The mother married six times. There was more about the stepfathers than the mother. The rest of the book was her life and then her daughters' lives. Then at the end of the chapter there were some think it over questions. A few chapters were a hodge podge of life advice. The best thing about the book was the Forrest Gump travel through the decades. She has a significant life event three weeks prior to JKF assignation. Then she moves through the sixties to present day. That was very interesting. The writing is good. I should have read the subtitle better. But for what it is, it is not bad.
(review of free book)
on June 10, 2012 :
I'm one of those people who reads biographies and histories rather than novels, because the raw material of human experience rings truer to me than things writers can make up.
Irene Tomkinson's book, "Not Like My Mother" is one that I'd point to for proof of my prejudice. In it, she lays her life out in a way that touched me deeply and personally as she shows the way she grew and changed from the mother's daughter she was, to the daughters' mother she became. My family was different in the problems we had, but the feelings were the same.
It wasn't an easy road. All the false starts, detours, emotional fender-benders and full-blown wrecks are in plain view. They are illuminated by Ms. Tomkinson's tough honesty along with insights from people like Steven Covey, Harville Hendrix, Anne Lamott, Karen Casey, John Bradshaw and 12-step programs like AA and OA to make sense of it all and to help steer a path to safety.
And while that path will be different for any of us, the geography of that path will look like Irene Tomkinson's; not a skip around or a leap over the unfinished business of our lives, but an "inward journey...past our egos, past our defenses, beyond our denial, and right through the middle of our fear."
Does that sound like the stuff of a good novel? Even better, It's Irene Tomkinson's story, and she's a better person for it.
(review of free book)