Mother Daughter Me by Katie Hafner
A Memoir

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Heartbreakingly honest, yet not without hope and flashes of wry humor.


"Book of the Week" - One of Ten "Titles to Pick Up Now" by O Magazine 
One of Five Top Non-Fiction Reads for Summer 2013 by Parade Magazine"The Best Memoir I've Read This Year"- The New York Times, Motherlode Blog"Next for Your Reading List" - The Atlantic
July 2013 Goodreads "Mover and Shaker"

The complex, deeply binding relationship between mothers and daughters is brought vividly to life in Katie Hafner's remarkable memoir, an exploration of the year she and her mother, Helen, spent working through, and triumphing over, a lifetime of unresolved emotions.

Dreaming of a "year in Provence" with her mother, Katie urges Helen to move to San Francisco to live with her and Zoë, Katie's teenage daughter. Katie and Zoë had become a mother-daughter team, strong enough, Katie thought, to absorb the arrival of a seventy-seven-year-old woman set in her ways.

Filled with fairy-tale hope that she and her mother would become friends, and that Helen would grow close to her exceptional granddaughter, Katie embarked on an experiment in intergenerational living that she would soon discover was filled with land mines: memories of her parents' painful divorce, of her mother's drinking, of dislocating moves back and forth across the country,  and of Katie's own widowhood and bumpy recovery. Helen, for her part, was also holding difficult issues at bay.

How these three women from such different generations learn to navigate their challenging, turbulent, and ultimately healing journey together makes for riveting reading. By turns heartbreaking and funny--and always insightful--Katie Hafner's brave and loving book answers questions about the universal truths of family that are central to the lives of so many.

Praise for Mother Daughter Me

"This brilliant, funny, poignant, and wrenching story of three generations under one roof is quite unlike anything else I have ever read. I love Katie Hafner's prose, her humor, the images she conjures, her choices of what to tell and when, the weaving together of family threads to produce this luminous and lasting tapestry. The story lingered with me long after I read the last page." - Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

"Weaving past with present, anecdote with analysis, Hafner's riveting account of multigenerational living and mother-daughter frictions, of love and forgiveness, is devoid of self-pity and unafraid of self-blame." - Elle Magazine

"With crystalline prose and impressive narrative control, Hafner candidly probes a host of issues: the lingering impact of alcoholism and parental abandonment on adult children, how dysfunction ripples through future generations, whether it is necessary to confront the past in order to redeem it." - Slate Magazine

"Katie Hafner is a first-rate storyteller, and Mother Daughter Me is a rare, utterly riveting memoir...What a triumph this is, and what a story." - Elizabeth Benedict, editor of NY TimesBestseller What My Mother Gave Me: 31 Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most

"Heartbreakingly honest . . . In a narrative that skillfully moves between her present predicament and her difficult childhood, Hafner offers a compelling portrait of her remarkable mother and their troubled relationship." - Kirkus Reviews

"... an unusually graceful story, one that balances honesty and tact." - Jane Smiley, writing in Harper's Magazine

"Hafner writes with compassion and wit about the often uneasy alliances between mothers and daughters and the surprising ways in which relationships can be redeemed even late in life." - Booklist

"Scrap any romantic ideas about what goes on when a 40-something woman invites her mother to live with her and her teenage daughter for a year. As Hafner hilariously and touchingly tells it, being the center of a family sandwich is, well, complicated." - Parade Magazine

"An emotional whodunit that uses brilliant journalistic acumen to crack the code of old family secrets." - Madeleine Blais, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Uphill Walkers

About Katie Hafner

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KATIE HAFNER is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, where she writes on healthcare and technology. She has also worked at Newsweek and BusinessWeek, and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Wired, The New Republic, The Huffington Post, and O, The Oprah Magazine. She is the author of five previous books covering a diverse range of topics, including the origins of the Internet, computer hackers, German reunification, and the pianist Glenn Gould.

Author Residence: San Francisco, CA

Author Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Published July 2, 2013 by Random House. 289 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
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on Apr 16 2013

Heartbreakingly honest, yet not without hope and flashes of wry humor.

Read Full Review of Mother Daughter Me: A Memoir | See more reviews from Kirkus

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