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Friday, June 11, 2010

Mom Still Likes You Best - Jane Isay

WOOF presents a special post with author, Jane Isay, who talks about her process in writing, Mom Still Likes You Best.

(Read the review below)

My process begins with empathy toward the person who has told the story. Then I try to imagine the setting of his or her life. That’s how I begin to give the story a context. Finally, I try to put myself in the place of the other people in the story, especially the ones who are the source of complaints or anger. I can’t interview everybody in a family, so I try to imagine what the mean mother-in-law was going through when she criticized her daughter-in-law’s mothering skills, or what the cruel older sister’s experience of her childhood was really like.

Writing is also a process of discovery. After I have sketched the stories and found the patterns, I realize that it’s time for me to tell the reader what I think. It takes courage to put your ideas out for strangers to read. After all, people who don’t know you might not take so kindly to you! But for me, so far it’s been OK. Readers of my books find relief when they realize that they are not alone in facing the complex issues that come up in the marvelous institution we call the family. After reading the book, one person who appeared in Walking on Eggshells told me:, “Either you’re a nice lady, or our family isn’t so bad.” That still makes me chuckle—I hope he was right on both counts.

The author lives in New York City, with my husband, Jonathan

Review: Mom Still Likes You Best - Jane Isay - Doubleday

Having mixed feelings about brothers and sisters doesn't mean you don't love them, or that you're somehow deficient. Jane Isay, author of Mom Still Likes You Best, makes that abundantly clear.

All readers will find their particular story in this thoughtfully, detailed book about sibling rivalry.

I found stories about younger sister/older brother particularly compelling since that was my situation. My brother was six years older, loved by all his teachers and a great student. Me? Not so much. I was also keenly aware that he was my mother's favorite. When his favorite dishes were served at EVERY meal, it's pretty hard to ignore.

I didn't let it bother me, though, because I was my dad's favorite, so it all evened out.

Isay covers the ups and downs of these special relationships. Some examples end with laughter and some with tears. She covers every possible situation, and never downplays the hurt and anger that goes along with family dynamics.

My brother died much too soon at age 56. He was my only sibling and I miss him. But, I found great comfort in this book because I realized that our relationship didn't have to be perfect for us to love each other.

I highly recommend this book for all brothers and sisters wondering whether you're alone in your hostility, resentment, or even in your fierce loyalties toward your siblings.

Jane Isay on the Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee

Mom Still Likes You Best - Amazon


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Joyce Lansky said...

As a mother, my kids like to play the he/she's your favorite game, but I really don't think I have one. We love different children best at different times. One may be our biggest pride while the other is the joy. I love all of my kids.

Even though my father swooned over my sister's accomplishments, I never felt less loved as a result. He was just proud of her and so was I because she was and still is cool. I loved to brag about my sister. Do all parents really have favorites or is it just a mind game we play with ourselves?

Joyce Lansky said...

Let me make this a little clearer. I love the child who is sick or hurt the most at that time. I love the child who walks across the stage to get the diploma during the ceremony. That's what I meant by loving different children best at different times. When they need me, that's when I'm there with my love all for them.

Mary Cunningham said...

And, I loved your comments, Joyce. I believe you've spoken for most mothers.

We love our children all the time, but do enjoy those significant memory-making moments throughout their lives.

Thanks for stopping by!