Saturday, February 7, 2009

Marilyn French

As I mention in my profile, one novel that had a profound effect on me is Marilyn French's Her Mother's Daughter. Unfortunately, I lent my copy to a friend and will probably never see it again since we live far apart. That's okay. I got her favorite book, The Power of Now, by Eckhardt Tolle (okay, I'll admit I haven't read it and probably won't for a long while, considering how high my stack of 'to read' books is and this just doesn't appeal to me at the moment.) (Okay, another truth, I'm finally reading the seventh Harry Potter book and totally enjoying the escape - but it's slow going - my reading time has really been limited, as of late.)

But I've been thinking about the French book lately. With my mom in the hospital, mother/daughter relationships consume me. My novel, that's coming out this year, is about my mom. While it appears to be about a girl in the Soviet Union during collectivization, it's really my attempt to understand my mother's emotional and psychological world. Childhood events shape who we become as adults. As my mom falls deeper and deeper into being a ninety year old child, I become more aware of her emotional damage.

My aunts went through the same external events as my mom. But they were younger. Perhaps, an eleven/twelve year old, on the cusp of puberty, is much more vulnerable than a five year or even a sixteen year old. I don't know. Being alive and becoming a personality is a complex thing. 

Here's a quote from Marilyn French, "We lose, but we replace, we substitute: we go on. This is as profound a truth as that we lose and cannot replace, we die." She's an amazing writer.


2 comments:

Barrie said...

Her Mother's Daughter is one of my favorite books too! How weird is that?! Mother-daugher relationships are so complex, aren't they?

gabe said...

That's neat, Barrie. Except maybe half the world (ie. the female half) love Marilyn French?