Mama's Child (Paperback)
Atria Books, 9781451693188, 320pp.
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Praise For Mama's Child…
“An astonishing accomplishment. The most passionate, the most honest and brave of books…riveting art.”
-Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker
"A powerful story brilliantly capturing the complications of the mother-daughter relationship from both sides."
-Marissa Moss, author of the award-winning Amelia's Notebook series
Mama’s Child is a stunning portrait of a family amidst the agony of recovery from near-drowning in the sea of racism. Joan Steinau Lester writes of the desperate vulnerabilities and the personal triumphs with a deft emotional hand that makes the struggles that have ripped apart this nation more personal than most have ever experienced.
-Jewelle Gomez, novelist & playwright
“Mama’s Child is a welcome addition to the growing body of mixed-race literature. Joan Steinau Lester’s innovation is a shift in gaze from the experience of the confused child to the often overlooked, complicated white mother. It’s a turn that’s long overdue."
-Emily Raboteau, author of Searching for Zion and The Professor’
“Poignant narrative . . . . no matter a person’s ethnic or cultural background, this book is relatable.”
“Mama’s Child is a deeply felt novel of a daughter on a quest for selfhood and a mother striving to come back to her own. Through alternating perspectives, Lester sensitively illuminates the challenges of living in a world still viewed through the filter of race.”
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
- Who was your favorite character? Why? Did you see this character change during the course of the novel? How?
- Who was your least favorite character? Why? Did you see this character change during the course of the novel? How?
- How did the pressures of the Civil Rights era manifest themselves within the Jordan/O’Leary family? How did the mother and the daughter each handle those pressures?
- What was a unifying family dynamic and ethos, based on the Civil Rights Movement?
- What made the relationship between Ruby and Elizabeth so fraught?
- Why did Ruby cut off her mother for so long?Do you think a young biracial woman today would feel the same need to estrange herself from a white mother?
- Have you heard of, or personally experienced, a similar situation in a family—where one member leaves for a long time? Has there been some healing? How did that happen? Did you play a role?
- How did a theme of forgiveness weave throughout the novel?
- What do you imagine happened after the close of the story?