Cover image for American mom : motherhood, politics, and humble pie
American mom : motherhood, politics, and humble pie
Blakely, Mary Kay, 1948-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books, [1994]

Physical Description:
x, 291 pages ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ759 .B613 1994 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Blakely's warm, candid, touching, fiercely loving account of raising two sons will strike a chord with parents in this age of post-nuclear, extended families.--Publishers Weekly, starred; "Witty and piercing."--Newsweek.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

For many boomer women, reading these essays will be like looking at a road map of their lives. Blakely married and had two children in the early 1970s, weathered unemployment and financial setbacks in the late '70s, divorced in the early '80s, and has been a single parent ever since. Although she's a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, all of her issues, whether political or domestic, are woven through with the perspective of a mother. When she found herself struggling to the point of exhaustion to support her sons while her ex-husband attended graduate school, she refused to sue him for child support because she was unwilling to trade in his close relationship with his children for the acrimony of a court battle. And although she had serious misgivings about her older son's passion for wrestling, she was a fixture in the stands at all the meets, screaming herself hoarse. She writes with a great deal of frankness and not a little irreverence, and she covers all the big issues: discipline, sibling rivalry, housework, lovers (hers and theirs). She says that "children make us prematurely wise," and in her case it's true, for she proves it again and again in these warm, thoughtful, and funny "reports from the interior." ~--Joanne Wilkinson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Blakely's warm, candid, touching, fiercely loving account of raising two sons will strike a chord with parents in this age of post-nuclear, extended families. As a feminist and a civil rights and green activist in conservative Fort Wayne, Ind., she transmitted her values to Ryan and Darren, who were born in 1974 and 1975, respectively. The part-time jobs of Blakely, a high-school dean and later a journalist, and her city-planner husband, Howard, made their life together an ever-changing crazy quilt; disputes over money and responsibility led to a bitter, protracted divorce after a decade of marriage. She relocated to Connecticut with her live-in lover, Larry, who was not a family man; their break-up after six years left her a single working mother whose ex-husband paid no child support. With fresh insights honed by feminist scholarship, Blakely (Wake Me When It's Over) writes beautifully of coping with her sons' earliest years, teenage rebellion, the need for parents to impart sex education, motherhood as an exercise in constantly letting go and the empty-nest syndrome. 40,000 first printing; author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Aside from the great Murphy Brown debate, motherhood and politics are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. Cultural reporter Blakely has woven these two subjects into an interesting collection of thoughts and reminiscences. Beginning with recollections of her own mother, Blakely explores her own mothering experiences, showing how the political climate of the Seventies influenced her children's upbringing, her divorce, and the decision of her sons to take turns living with their father. With numerous magazine articles to her credit, Blakely brings both good writing and good instincts to this book. A thought-provoking example of the personal as political, this is recommended for most public libraries. [Excerpted in Ms. and Parenting magazines.-Ed.]-Priscilla Davis Dann, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., South Euclid, Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Who Are We This Time?
Part 1 The Mother
1 Maternal Bondage
2 "Just a Housewife"
3 Becoming Outlaws
Part 2 The Boys Four
The Big McSmack
5 Adjusting to Reality
6 The Holistic Divorce
7 A Postnuclear Family
8 Approaching Ground Zero
9 Working Children
10 "The Wrong Crowd"
11 The Importance of Being Imperfect
12 The Brownie Revolt
13 THe Brothers K
Part 3 The Coming Men
14 Here They Come, Hormones Raging
15 Hey, Stupid
16 A Wres