Is it relevant for us, parents or mothers of sons, sons who are different? Maybe no, maybe yes.
I’ll declare my bias up front:-
My Son-in-law and daughter are fluent in Portuguese.
I am a mother with sons with severe anxiety.
You can read an interview with the author here.
And you can read an excerpt here.
Why would any of ‘us’ be interested in reading this novel?
The negatives first:
The punctuation is distracting, initially.
There are a few typos, but they’ll probably be cleaned up before going to press.
I found one section overly long, but that’s just a personal preference.
You may not like ‘bad language’ but it goes with the teenage territory.
On to the positive.
For me it provided insight into the self-obsessed and self-absorbed world of a teenager. It’s a singular perspective–‘it’s all about me’–but it helps align a parent’s viewpoint. We’re both on the periphery and at the center of the storm, the gatekeeper, while simultaneously required to be a solid anchor of calm and reassurance. Not that Sophia, the mother, is restrictive, not by any manner of means. She allows and encourages Phillippe the freedom to be who he wants to be, but she’s also there to pick up the pieces, until one day she isn’t.
This novel examines the author’s grief and loss when his mother dies unexpectedly and his reflections about their relationship.
His description of all pervasive anxiety is accurate and daunting, and his experience with prescription medications should give us pause.
The non-linear storytelling is refreshing and his voice non-formulaic. It reflects the chaotic emotions of a teenager, both strident and mewling. The ‘holes’ in the narrative speak to the spotty attention, distraction and frustration of someone in the depths of despair.
It is a heartbreaking story of a journey cut short, a reminder to plan for the future but live in the present.
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About the book: Praise of Motherhood is a son’s tribute to the woman who not only gave him life, but helped him live: through various psychotic breakdowns, tumultuous teenage years, and years of feeling out of place in the world. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
About the author: Phil Jourdan fronts the lit-rock band Paris and the Hiltons, runs the fiction press Perfect Edge Books, and occasionally works on a PhD. Visit Phil on his blog, music site, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.