Thursday, May 28, 2015

Book Review: "Pieces of My Mother" by Melissa Cistaro

Pieces of My Mother Melissa Cistaro
Published: 5/1/2015
ISBN: 9781492615385
Genre: Memoir
Source: Netgalley
Recommended for readers looking for memoirs dealing with mother/daughter issues

This provocative, poignant memoir of a daughter whose mother left her behind by choice begs the question: Are we destined to make the same mistakes as our parents?

One summer, Melissa Cistaro's mother drove off without explanation Devastated, Melissa and her brothers were left to pick up the pieces, always tormented by the thought: Why did their mother abandon them?

Thirty-five years later, with children of her own, Melissa finds herself in Olympia, Washington, as her mother is dying. After decades of hiding her painful memories, she has just days to find out what happened that summer and confront the fear she could do the same to her kids. But Melissa never expects to stumble across a cache of letters her mother wrote to her but never sent, which could hold the answers she seeks.

Haunting yet ultimately uplifting, Pieces of My Mother chronicles one woman's quest to discover what drives a mother to walk away from the children she loves. Alternating between Melissa's tumultuous coming-of-age and her mother's final days, this captivating memoir reveals how our parents' choices impact our own and how we can survive those to forge our own paths. 

My Thoughts:
Oh my, where to start.  Anyone can tell from reading the summary of this book that it is going to be heart-wrenching.  I am lucky in that I can't personally relate to Cistaro's story, yet I was still deeply affected by this book.  I can only imagine how someone who can relate to Cistaro's story would experience this.

I enjoyed Cistaro's writing quite a bit and she wasn't afraid to go all in.  I suspect it can be hard to articulate the feelings that Cistaro had to go through in her life and I applaud her for that.  In fact, this book reminds me of another well-known memoir of a woman coming to terms with her mother's death and I think readers of that novel (you know what book I'm talking about!) may be interested in this book.

I will admit, though, that I did have some problems with the pacing of this book  I felt that Cistaro did a fabulous job of digging deep and explaining her feelings, but I also felt that most of this book was stuck in neutral.  I never felt that Cistaro was getting closer to making peace with her feelings about her mother until, well, she had made peace. I wish that there had been more of a forward-motion in the narrative throughout the book.

Would I recommend this book to others?  Yes, although not universally.  I don't think this is a book for just anyone and a reader needs to be in a certain "head space" for it.  But, for some, this is an excellent memoir.

I received an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

Pieces of My Mother: A Memoir
by Melissa Cistaro

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