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The Woman Who Gave Birth to Her Mother
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About the Author

Kim Chernin is a psychoanalyst in private practice and the author of the classic volumes The Hungry Self, The Obsession: Reflections On The Tyranny Of Slenderness, and In My Mother's House, a memoir. Chernin lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Drawing on accounts of mother-daughter conflicts that she heard about as a practicing psychoanalyst, Chernin (Reinventing Eve) provides a method for resolving the problems that can dominate this relationship in her perceptive and creative study. According to the author, many women are locked into a cycle of blaming and forgiving their mothers for any difficulties they have experienced. To transcend this pattern, Chernin recommends that a woman learn to "give birth" to her mother by changing the destructive dynamic that has existed between them through the healing power of storytelling. Telling and retelling the story of this relationship is supposed to take a woman through the seven stages of idealizing, revising, blaming, forgiving, identifying with, letting go of and finally giving birth to a new vision of her mother. Chernin recounts the compelling stories of several women for whom this process, she claims, has fostered self-development, including a woman who brought her mother home from a 30-year stay in a mental institution and another who extricated herself from a stifling mother-daughter relationship. Author tour. (Aug.)

California-based psychoanalyst Chernin (e.g., In My Father's Garden, LJ 8/96) presents a series of mother-daughter stories told to her in private counseling and in chance encounters in daily life. These stories are organized according to seven stages of a woman's life and relationship with her mother‘idealizing, revision, blaming, forgiving, identifying, letting go, and giving birth‘which offers new insight and gives new meaning to family anecdotes. There is seemingly no casual anecdote that Chernin doesn't attempt to explain, no emotion she won't work through. The book is clearly written and is quick and easy reading, but the content needs to be considered quietly and at length and perhaps discussed with a therapist. A book for mothers and adult daughters to share, this belongs in the psychology section of most public libraries.‘Susan E. Burdick, MLS, Reading, PA

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