ELLEN SAYS: Thanks to Minnesota Public Radio for having me as a guest to talk about memoirs today! The Babes congratulate MPR fand host Kerri Miller or believing that a discussion about books can attract listeners -- and money -- during a pledge drive.
Here's a nod to the nearest holiday: What mom doesn't want to be remembered with a book? Well, an illiterate one, perhaps, but that demographic is probably not dialing up this blog. So here are a few suggestions for the mother who reads, thinks and without hesitation would throw herself under a bus on your behalf. (Not that you owe her a gift, but think about it.)
We've coupled each book below with its most appropriate type of recipient. However, given the likelihood that YOUR mom contains multitudes, maybe you should present all four in a beach bag. Then throw in a ticket to Hawaii...
FREUDIAN FANNY: "The Story of a Marriage," by Andrew Sean Greer. So you thought the '50s consisted of sitcoms and backyard barbecues? There was so much more, Greer tells us, in this story of one Bay area couple whose life together portends the civil rights battles to come. Lovely writing. Wife Pearlie is a dear, but, well, get a clue, honey.
REAL-LIFE RITA: "How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed," by Theo Pauline Nestor. Breaking up is hard to do. But Nestor's story of how her marriage imploded and, better yet, how she survived, marks the steps of denial, grief and acceptance that go with having a man flake out on you. Oprah watchers, this one's for you.
POLITIC POLLY: "Writing in an Age of Silence," by Sara Paretsky. It's a presidential election year, and the media are going wild. If your mom is a political junkie with progressive tendencies, this memoir should suit her fine: Here the writer known for her crime novels traces her path to becoming a writer through a consciousness alert to injustice and the misuse of power.
SASSY SALLY: "The Late Bloomer's Revolution," by Amy Cohen. You don't have to be thirtysomething or unmarried, like the author, to laugh out loud at Cohen's search for herself and a man. (Trust me: I'm neither young nor single, and I burbled like a maniac.) But you do need a keen sense of irony about love and life. "Seinfield" fans, unite. Bonus: Cohen's mother is a dream, always seeing the bright side when her daughter can't: "Who else but you can get away with wearing a pillowcase as a headdress? How fun!"