Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review and Giveaway: What My Mother Gave Me by Elizabeth Benedict

Title: What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most
Author: Elizabeth Benedict
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Algonquin
Publish Date: April 2, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a non-fiction fan.
  • You love reading about mother - daughter relationships.
What's the Story?:

From "Women look at the relationships between mothers and daughters through a new lens: a daughter s story of a gift from her mother that has touched her to the bone and served as a model, a metaphor, or a touchstone in her own life. The contributors of these thirty-one original pieces all written specifically for this book include Pulitzer Prize winners, perennial bestselling novelists, and well-known NPR commentators.Joyce Carol Oates writes about quilts her mother sewed that were a comfort when her husband died; Rita Dove remembers a box of nail polish that taught her to paint her nails in stripes and polka dots; Lisa See, daughter of writer Carolyn See, writes about the gift of writing; Cecilia Munoz remembers the wok her mother gave her and a lifetime of home-cooked family meals; Judith Hillman Paterson revisits the year of sobriety her mother bequeathed to her when Judith was nine years old, the year before her mother died of alcoholism.Collectively, the pieces have a force that feels as elemental as the tides: outpourings of lightness and darkness; simple joy and devastating grief; mother love and daughter love; mother love and daughter rage. In these stirring words we find that every gift, no matter how modest, tells the story of a powerful bond."

My Two Cents:

I read this book just in time for Mother's Day and I actually passed on my copy of "What My Mother Gave Me" to my mom. This book is a collection of stories of what each author's mother gave her. Some gifts are tangible. Some are not. They vary from author to author. Some of the stories are happy and some of them are sad but I think that's sort of a normal reflection of the relationships that women have with their mothers. Whether happy or sad, the gifts that you get from your mother are incredibly important. They truly are things that you carry with you for your entire life, which is exactly the point that the book makes.

I really, really enjoyed this book. This is a book that you will want to share with the women in your life. It would make a great gift book for just about any occasion (but do you really need an occasion to share a book??? No way; books are for anytime!!!) So many of the stories really tugged on my heart. A couple of them made me smile. A couple of them made me tear up.

I suggest reading this book story by story. It's hard to stop in the middle of each story as I think you kind of lose momentum that way so make sure that you have time to sit down and read the whole story all the way through. I could see this being a great book to read one story at night or something like that. I feel that some of the stories in this book are definitely meant to be savored a little bit.

Overall, this is a great book!


Thanks to the publisher, I have two copies of this book to give away! (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. It sounds like a lovely book especially for this time of the year when we celebrate moms.

    1. It was wonderful! My mom has already read my copy of the book and loved it!

  2. This one sounds great and I love the cover!

  3. I am captivated with this unique and special book. Thanks for this chance. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. I have a feeling this one would make me cry! Mother/daughter relationship dynamics -- as well as sister dynamics, and sibling dynamics in general -- always pluck at my heartstrings. Sounds like a great one to share with your own mom or grandma, too.

    1. Same here! My relationships with the members of my family are really important to me so I love books like this. I shared my copy with my mom and she loved it!

  5. This looks so great! Thanks for sharing with us! I adore that cover as well.
    Books like this make me wonder whether the author had any influence from friends and family while writing it.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    mestith at gmail dot com

  6. Thanks so much for this beautiful response to my anthology, on behalf of the 30 other writers who contributed. (I'm the editor and the 31st!) I'm thrilled that today, the book is on the New York Times Bestseller list. I'd be happy to send a signed book plate to the two winners. You can get in touch with me at

    1. Hi Elizabeth!!! Thank you so much! I will email you!

  7. I grew up without a mom but now I have 2 daughter -- so sounds like a must read.

  8. I'm definitely putting this on my to-read shelf. My mother and I went from having a nearly non-existent relationship while I was in high school to being part of each other's support system now that I'm an adult. I'm curious to read about other mother-daughter relationships -- this sounds like a great book!


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