All posts tagged: motherhood

The fabulous and down-to-earth Mary Kubica talks about her new domestic suspense, LOCAL WOMAN MISSING, her fascination with true crime, writing ‘the big twist,’ old houses, how even idyllic places have their dark stories–plus, a question for me, too.

By Leslie Lindsay  An explosive page-turner from Mary Kubica will have you looking over your shoulder–and your neighbors–differently. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ SPOTLIGHT: MOTHERHOOD Mary Kubica has done it again. Every one of her books is a treat and I so glad I had the opportunity to dive into this one a bit early. LOCAL WOMAN MISSING (Park Row Books, May 18 2021) is her seventh (!!) domestic thriller and it’s so, so good. Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. This is unusual, she has a newborn, she’s relatively new to town, what reason would she possibly have to leave…or for someone to kidnap her? Not long after, Meredith Dickey goes missing, and her 6-year old daughter. But it’s a close-knit, suburban town outside of Chicago, neighbors are concerned but there’s only so much that can be done, even after a search party is formed. The case(s) eventually goes cold and Meredith’s husband, Josh, and son, Leo, continue with their lives. Now, eleven years later, the 6-year old daughter shockingly returns. She’s traumatized, must wear sunglasses at all times …

Maryanne O’Hara and I chat about LITTLE MATCHES, a gorgeous tribute to her late daughter, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, transformational healing, reiki, end-of-life doulas, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you’re left to grapple with the meaning of life? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS | ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health Awareness Month What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you’re left to grapple with the meaning of life? This is the overarching question that plaques novelist Maryanne O’Hara as she makes sense of the senseless loss of her adult daughter, Caitlin, following a near-lifelong battle of cystic fibrosis (CF) in her forthcoming memoir, LITTLE MATCHES (HarperOne, April 20 2021). Immediately, I was enthralled with the deep well of questions this wise writer posits to the reader: Where is she?Is she?Is there more to life than this life?Does consciousness survive death?Does my existence have any purpose?Does anyone’s? Of course, death is the only certainty in life and while that’s ironic (and a bit glib), there is so much life that happens in that interstitial space. This is why I think I love LITTLE MATCHES. Maryanne and her husband, Nick, …

Hugely moving and tragic memoir, EVERYTHING’S FINE about mothers, sons, & brothers…one with severe mental illness, a horrific tragedy, healing, more–Vince Granata and I chat about this and more

By Leslie Lindsay An extraordinarily moving memoir about a family ripped from balance at the hands of a severally mentally ill individual, EVERYTHING IS FINE (Atria, April 2021) is about grief, mental illness, mothers and sons, and so much more.  ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS |ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health Awareness Month An extraordinarily moving memoir about a family ripped from balance at the hands of a severally mentally ill individual, EVERYTHING IS FINE (Atria, April 2021) is about grief, mental illness, mothers and sons, and so much more.  I finished this book last night and I am so moved and yet, simultaneously disturbed. It’s one of the most gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, authentic memoirs I’ve read in a long time. This family will stay with me. Vince Granata recalls standing in front of his suburban home, chalk in hand, as he greeted his mother and father and three siblings (triplets) home from the hospital. The family had just doubled in size. He was ecstatic; finally: playmates, siblings. But twenty-three years later, one of those siblings–Tim–will develop severe mental illness–likely schizophrenia. He’s plagued by paranoid delusions, …

Sylvia True talks about her astonishing novel-based-on-a-true story, WHERE MADNESS LIES, combining elements of historical fiction, medicine, mental illness, motherhood, secrets, more

By Leslie Lindsay Such a beautifully tragic and heart-wrenching tale of hope and redemption, a lesser-known slice of WWII, combining intergenerational trauma, mental illness, secrets, more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Women’s Historical Fiction I was absolutely struck by the themes and ideas—and writing—in WHERE MADNESS LIES (Top Hat Books, February 1 2021) by Sylvia True, which is a gorgeous and devastating voyage into the madness of madness, tracing the Nazis’ view of the morally disgusting idea of racial hygiene, but also eradicating ‘any life not worth living,’ such as those deemed feebleminded, mentally ill, sexually degenerate, more. Alternating between the 1980s Massachusetts, and 1930s Germany, with a brief stint in Switzerland, WHERE MADNESS LIES is so beautifully rendered. I was in awe at the breadth of this book–in terms of historical accuracy, emotional intelligence, compelling voice/characters, how it’s based on a true story, and so much more. This story is hauntingly compelling, devastating, and horrifying, yet there’s a glimmer of hope dangling from a pearl. WHERE MADNESS LIES is achingly honest and masterful, a page-turner with fully developed characters and timelines, each …

Naima Coster is back with a bold and moving tale of legacy, family, displacement, and rootedness in WHAT’S MINE AND YOURS, plus tips on writing character, developing setting, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Extraordinary tale of gentrification, equality, race, and legacy that begs the question: what are you leaving behind? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight on family legacy, race, history Several years ago, I read and loved Naima Coster’s debut, HALSEY STREET, and fell in love with her voice and writing. Her sophomore book is so daring, so beautifully told, but also bold and passionate, exploring comforting companionship, siblings, home, parent and child, and so much more. Set in the foothills of North Carolina, WHAT’S MINE AND YOURS (Grand Central, March 2 2021) is beautifully written, in elegant and moving prose, but also rife with deep, perceptive description from a poet’s heart. There’s the “Black side” of town and the “White side,” school integration, and the resistance of residents. For Gee and Noelle, this integration sets off a chain reaction bonding the two together for at least the next twenty years. Families are split–in their desire to integrate, how they see it benefitting each family and race/culture. But there’s also mixed-race Latina individuals …

WHAT IF THE GHOST OF MARGARET WISE BROWN visited you? THE UPSTAIRS HOUSE by julia fine delves into the delicate postpartum period, children’s literature, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  A terribly haunting and visceral take on the delicate postpartum period, featuring the ghost of children’s author Margaret Wise Brown. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ When I first learned of THE UPSTAIRS HOUSE (Harper, February 2021) by Julia Fine, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Not only does it feature ‘house’ in the title and cover, but it’s surrealistic, feministic, and provocative, melding present-day with the past, a genre-bending exploration of children’s literature, folktale, literature, horror, and more. Truly, THE UPSTAIRS HOUSE is a read unlike any other. Megan Weiler is home from the hospital after giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, her first child. Her husband, Ben is around, but not near enough, he must travel for work (in this sense, THE UPSTAIRS HOUSE reminds me a bit of Helen Phillips’s THE NEED), leaving Megan alone with infant Clara. Megan is physically exhausted and mentally drained plus, she’s still stewing on that unfinished dissertation, the one about midcentury children’s literature, specifically the life and contribution of Margaret …

Debut author Ashley audrain talks about her ravishingly dark and twisted THE PUSH, about motherhood, the postpartum period, intergenerational trauma, family legacy + reading list, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Deliciously dark and juicy psychological drama–a DEBUT–you’ll be talking about long after you turn the last page, the issues and concerns surrounding motherhood, family history, genetics, and more.  ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ THE PUSH (forthcoming from Pamela Dorman Books/PRH January 5, 2021) is one of those buzzy–OMG–books you’ll devour in one sitting. Is it a conversation-started? You bet. Will have it have you puzzling out your own maternal history–going back generations? Yes, that too. Here, we meet Blythe Connor, a woman whose experience of motherhood is not at all what she imagine. Blythe is determined to be the warm, caring, generous mother she herself never had. Still, she can’t let go of the disturbing, nagging thought that her daughter, Violet is not like other children. Is something ‘off?’ She’s distant, defiant, stubborn, antisocial, angry. Is she dangerous? Is Blythe just exhausted? Is it because Blythe doesn’t have much of a mother figure and her childhood was distorted? And her mother’s childhood, too? Maybe. Here we examine motherhood in the most …

Is there a WRONG WAY TO SAVE YOUR LIFE? Maybe our experiences are so widely varied that there is no wrong—or right way? Megan STIELSTRA talks about thiS, motherhood, feeling stuck, being seen

by Leslie Lindsay Raw, bold and ravishing memoir loosely hinged on the concept of fear. ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS Book of the Year Award, Nonfiction, Chicago Review of Books, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Chicago Public Library, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Chicago Magazine, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Heidi Stevens for the Chicago Tribune, December 2017 2017 Favorites, The Rumpus, December 2017 Best Nonfiction of 2017, Vol 1. Brooklyn, December 2017 Best Books by Women in 2017, Bustle, November 2017 Great Essay Collections of 2017, Book Riot, November 2017 Finalist, Book of the Year, Nonfiction, Chicago Writer’s Association, October 2017 Is it instinct, or distinct? I am not sure and I think both apply in THE WRONG WAY TO SAVE YOUR LIFE by Megan Stielstra (Harper Perennial, 2017). Here, we dive into so many topics that are forbidden at the dinner table: feminism, the perils of academia, the writing life, postpartum depression, childhood cancer, motherhood, sex. And fear. There’s so much fear under these words, it’s palpable. These essays–or stories–snapshots, …

Ravishing bold & meaty memoir focusing on mothers, mental health, grief, but also trauma, the female body, traditional ‘womanhood;’ plus writing structure, more in WIVING

By Leslie Lindsay  Ravishingly bold and haunting memoir about growing up Mormon, ‘wifely’ expectations, mental illness, and sexual abuse. ~Writers Interviewing Writers |ALWAYS WITH BOOK~ I was immediately taken with this compassionately visceral and lyrical memoir by Caitlyn Myer.  WIVING (Arcade Books/Skyhorse Publishing, July 2020) is so brave, so bold, all things laid bare account of the author’s upbringing, but also abuse and personal sexuality. Raised Utah in a traditional Mormon family, Caitlin Myer’s life had an expected trajectory: she would attend church-related activities, hold on to her virginity, learn to be sweet and compliant, keep a hope chest, and then when the time was right, she would marry and enter ‘full womanhood.’ I read with such an urgency a worry and an impending sense of doom–things do not go to plan. As much as I loved WIVING, it’s a challenge to summarize it in terms of plot–it comes to the reader in a fragmented, spiraling thread, and I love this structure. It’s much like life in that sense, and in what I think encompasses the entirety of the narrative: …

Twists, turns, and toxicity: THE END OF HER is wicked good, a dark escape into brilliantly actualized characters, plus who Shari Lapena would cast *if* it were adapted into a movie

By Leslie Lindsay Deliciously dark and deceptive, the most awry characters, set in a bucolic suburban setting in Shari Lapena’s new thriller, THE END OF HER.  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ #1 Internationally Bestselling Author Shari Lapena, the author of last summer’s propulsive thriller, SOMEONE WE KNOW returns to the bucolic town of Aylesford, nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley. Here, in THE END OF HER (Penguin/Pamela Dorman Books, July 28 2020),  we meet Stephanie Kilgour, a young woman who seemingly has it all: A beautiful home; a loving architect husband, and twin baby girls. But she’s exhausted. The babies are only four months old and colicky. Stephanie is unraveling. Fatigue and new motherhood is taking it’s toll. Her husband, Patrick, does what he can, but work is intense. And then, a woman from his past shows up unexpectedly. He’s flabbergasted and terrified. Secrets surface. The woman, Erika, is insidious, weaving her way into Stephanie’s life, Patrick’s partner’s bed, and more. THE END OF HER is deliciously deceptive, full of twists and turns, …