The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Books for Review

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Mom Egg Review Books for Review – Jan. 2020

Our book reviews are approximately 750 words, and are published online at momeggreview.com. Please refer to our Book Review Guidelines for more information.

If you’re interested in reviewing one of the books below, or another book that fits our parameters, please email us at [email protected].

POETRY

CHAPBOOKS

Samantha Kober. Birth of a Daughter.
“Birth of a Daughter is an honest and vivid portrait of new motherhood. It is a chapbook about intimacy and love, both for the child and for the self. ‘There is a world at my fingertips. / Or, I am the world — fingertipped’ Kolber writes in her poem ‘A(u)reola.’ These poems are a beautiful witness to that common, yet utterly profound occurrence of birth.”  —Bianca Stone, author of The Mobius Strip Club of Grief and A Little Called Pauline

 

POETRY (FULL LENGTH)

Jen Stewart Fueston, Madonna, Complex. Cascade Books, 2020.
“Madonna, Complex chronicles a feminine faith journey alongside saints like Joan of Arc and Saint Kateri, images of motherhood in visual art, through holy days of the Christian calendar—Ash Wednesday, Holy Saturday, All Saints Day—and sites of pilgrimage, cathedrals, wilderness, and other places holiness can be found. These poems explore the complexities of the messages we receive about what it means to say yes to God, or to something larger than ourselves that demands our attention and energy, whether it’s bearing a child or participating in a political protest.”

Laura Page, Dove, Coyote. Ghost Press 2020.
Dove, Coyote is a sequence of lyric, minimalist poems and fragments spoken through an unreliable narrator to explore the distortion of collective and personal memory, through four seasons, and deals with love, loss, and grief.

Sarah Sala, Devil’s Lake. Tolsun Books 2020.
“What does it mean to claim your space in a world that’s ending? Sarah M. Sala’s Devil’s Lake breaks
open the American moment of unchecked gun violence, climate changes, and the growing rift between
“us” and “them” with formal daring. Like a prism, this startling debut fractures into shades of possibility
and memory, queering science, nature, and form to lay bare the colors of joy despite a world that seems
intent on its destruction.”

Sally Thomas, Motherland , Able Muse Press 2020.
In Sally Thomas’s Motherland, the poet keenly observes the ephemeral and the everlasting in the lens of time-the daily into seasonal transformations, the gifts and wonders of nature and people. Motherland by turns hails and interrogates in matters of flesh, of faith and spirituality-especially so in the “Richeldis of Walsingham” poem sequence. This finalist in the Able Muse Book Award is a collection abounding in insight, hope, grace, surprises, and yes, love.

 

NON-FICTION; MEMOIR

Athena Dixon, The Incredible Shrinking Woman. Split Lip Press, 2020.
A quiet retelling of a life in the background, Athena Dixon’s debut essay collection, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, is a gentle unpacking of the roles she learned to inhabit, growing up as a Black woman in a small Midwestern town, to avoid disruption. But after the implosion of the life she’d always wanted, Dixon must explore the implications of her desire to hide as she rebuilds herself in a world that expects freedom to look boisterous. As Dixon presses the bruises of her invisibility, these essays glide between the pages of fan fiction, the rush of new panties, down the rabbit hole of depression, and reemerge on the other side, speaking with the lived authority of a voice that, even when shaking, is always crystal clear.


FICTION

Chapbook

Veronica Montes. The Conguered Sits at the Bus Stop, Waiting. Black Lawrence Press, 2020.
In this new collection of flash fiction, Veronica Montes conducts an intimate exploration of the interior lives of eight women searching for voice and agency. Sometimes bewildered by their circumstances, sometimes determined to change them, Montes’ characters are driven by desire and despair and a thirst for transformation. They are silenced; they are enraged.

Full Length

María Fernanda Ampuero, Cockfight. Feminist Press 2020.
In lucid and compelling prose, Ampuero sheds light on the grotesque realities of the home—family, coming-of-age, religion, and class struggle. A family’s maids witness a horrible cycle of abuse, a girl is auctioned off by a gang of criminals, and two sisters find themselves at the mercy of their spiteful brother. With violence masquerading as love, the characters in these stories spend their lives trapped reenacting their past traumas.

Karin Cecile Davidson, Sybelia Drive. Braddock Avenue Books 2020.
An extraordinary debut novel in stories, Sybelia Drive is a story told through layered, kaleidoscopic images and unforgettable language. In the small lake town in Florida where LuLu, Rainey, and Saul are growing up, life is complicated by war, longing, and the sharp pain of conditional love. Coming of age while coming to terms with their detached parents, unrealized dreams, and the backdrop of the war in Vietnam, the threesome push past childhood into their teenage years with the shared baggage of a generation—one that is caught up in the lingering innocence of a private world until outside events cast that world in a different light, and the three measure their days by measuring each other: whether in wit, complicity, or hurtfulness. In the years that they are together, men walk on the moon, students are shot at Kent State, and of their three military fathers, only one returns from Vietnam.

Gwen Goodkin, A Place Remote.  West Virginia University Press 2020.
From farm to factory, alcoholism to war wounds, friendship to betrayal, the stories in A Place Remote take us intimately into the hearts of people from all walks of life in a rural Ohio town. Whether they stay in their town or leave for distant places, these characters come to realize no one is immune to the fictions people tell others—and themselves—to survive.In each of these ten stories, Gwen Goodkin forces her characters to face the dramatic events of life head-on—some events happen in a moment, while others are the fallout of years or decades of turning away. A boy is confronted by the cost of the family farm, an optometrist careens toward an explosive mental disaster, a mourning teen protects his sister, lifelong friends have an emotional confrontation over an heirloom, and a high school student travels to Germany to find his voice and, finally, a moment of long-awaited redemption.

Tara Lynn Masih & James Claffey, The Bitter Kind: A Flash Novelette
In this spare novelette, acclaimed flash fiction writers James Claffey and Tara Lynn Masih collaboratively create an original tale of loss and love, as The Bitter Kind deftly alternates between Stela, the daughter of a ship’s captain, burdened by her family secrets, and Brandy, a Chippewa orphan, haunted by ghost wolves and spirits. The authors cross genres and borders between historical and contemporary, speculative and realistic, presenting two unforgettable characters on a journey toward their inevitable, fateful destination.

 

 

 

 

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