Some things in American life are just sacred, aren’t they? Like lemonade stands, baseball games, Thanksgiving dinner, apple pie and…birthday cake! There happens to be one in my kitchen today – freshly homemade carrot cake, with smooth cream cheese frosting. I’m getting out my best china too, because, after all, birthdays are cause to celebrate. So do come in, and join the party.
Carrot cake is my favorite dessert, and I’m such a lucky girl to have a mother who is the world’s best baker. And even though she’ll be 81 years old on her next birthday (which is coming up on Wednesday, by the way) she would never dream of letting my birthday pass by without a homemade cake. She’s just that kind of mother.
So motherhood is on my mind today – well, actually, motherhood is on my mind a lot of the time. You know I’ve just finished two very different books about motherhood – Men and Angels, and The Good Mother.
Oh, and that book I abandoned -well, that was about motherhood too.
So I moved on to The Gathering Place, the Booker Prize winning novel by Anne Enright, and yes, motherhood is seeming to figure prominetly there as well. I’ve only just started the book, but it’s one of those quintessential Irish novels – the big, brooding family with lots of angst and emotional issues. There are eleven children in this brood, and the mother of this lot has her plate quite full.
I’ve also started in on my third short story collection for the Short Story Challenge. It’s called You Won’t Remember This, by Kate Blackwell. I’ve only read two stories so far, but each one has a very strong mother-presence about it. (As an aside, these are just delightful stories, real gems of characterization and setting. I’m so glad I picked this one up from the library!)
So, what do you suppose accounts for this semi-obsession with motherhood in my reading life? Is it that motherhood was such an important part of my life experience that I keep attempting to revisit it in my reading? Or is it my penchant for observing and scrutinizing the experiences of other mothers, literary or otherwise?
I do know from all my reading – past and present – that I certainly “lucked out” in the mother department.
And now, I’m going to have another slice of cake.
After all, it’s my birthday.
Now tell me, do you find yourself gravitating toward books with a particular subject matter…like marriage, or death, or sibling relationships…or motherhood?