The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood
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Motherlunge by Kirstin Scott

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motherlungsReview by Suzanne Kamata

– What a voice! With her dark sense of humor and her lively, inventive prose, Kirstin Scott, author of the award-winning Motherlunge, can make even the most mundane aspects of suburban life – recycling, for instance – totally compelling.

At the heart of the narrative is Thea, a hopeful young woman raised by an unreliable mother, and her dazzling older sister, Pavia, who is pregnant. When Thea’s boyfriend decides to take a break from their relationship, and Pavia decides to leave her adoring new husband, Thea moves in with her sister to help out. But this brief summary hardly does the book justice.

Scott has a flair for dialogue and finding the perfect detail and delightful digressions. She alternates between the story of Thea’s highly dysfunctional family and sardonic snippets of advice from a mother to a daughter. I constantly found myself wanting to call up a friend to read passages of this book out loud or share lines on Twitter. For example: “First, everyone says As Long as She’s Healthy. Then, As Long as She’s Happy. As if these are modest hopes, reasonable bargaining points in a negotiation with management. That’s All We Ask! I’ll tell you truthfully, my darling: these are too much to ask for. I’m sorry.”

Motherlunge is wistful, wise, and funny – and not to be missed.

Motherlunge by Kirstin Scott
(New Issues, 2013)
254 pages, paperback, $15.00


Suzanne Kamata is the author of Gadget Girl and Losing Kei; editor of Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs (Beacon Press, May 2008) and Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2009). Visit www.suzannekamata.com.

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