Creative Writing

The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen

CohenThe Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen, graduate, the MFA in Creative Writing at The New School; faculty, Creative Writing at The New School.

Algonquin Books, 2015

Publishers Weekly:

In this finely wrought memoir, Cohen (What I Thought I Knew) handles nearly overwhelming events. Her adopted-at-birth daughter, now 18, finally reconnects with her birth mother. Cohen’s biological daughter, whose conception was a surprise because of Cohen’s diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer and the consequent hormone treatments, has to undergo a difficult leg-lengthening surgery at age eight to correct a birth defect that Cohen feels responsible for causing. Through this prism, Cohen remembers her own mother, Louise, who passed away 30 years prior. Cohen takes readers on a journey through her immediate travails, as well as through her troubled childhood dealing with a mother whose own battle with cancer transformed her emotionally and physically. Cohen’s mother was a trailblazing champion of civil rights, an early feminist who bemoaned the trappings of a stay-at-home motherhood and fought for her intellectual life. Cohen ultimately gets closure with her mother, who gives her advice beyond the grave about how to be a better mother, how to face cancer, and how, ultimately, to be a daughter who finally finds peace with the complex woman who had more of an impact on her life than she ever realized.

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