Mothers of Sparta by Dawn Davies

Mothers of Sparta

Discovered by Michael Ondaatje, Davies’ dazzling literary memoir has shades of Mary Karr, Anne Lamott, and Jenny Lawson.Some women are born mothers, some achieve motherhood, others have motherhood thrust upon them. Dawn Davies is in the third category. A six-foot-tall divorcee, she isn’t chatty, couldn’t care less about anyone’s potty training progress, doesn’t care to share her own children’s milestones with people who don’t love t...

Details Mothers of Sparta

TitleMothers of Sparta
Release DateJan 30th, 2018
PublisherFlatiron Books
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Writing, Essays

Reviews Mothers of Sparta

  • Selena
    I received a free ARC copy of Mothers of Sparta by Dawn Davies from Goodreads for my honest review. Mothers of Sparta is a collection of sad and funny personal essays that define Dawn Davies' life. This is a very different book and although I did find it very sad, it is brilliantly written.
  • Lynne
    This is the first book I have read that both wrenches your gut with heartbreak and makes you laugh out loud at the humor at the same time. Dawn Davies reveals her life in graphic detail, all her most intimate thoughts on childbirth, divorce, raising a blended family and a life full of pets. She writes her memoir in loosely connected chapters from various points in her life. Some are hilarious accounts of everyday life events interspersed with tra...
  • Amy Morgan
    Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. Mothers of Sparta was an engaging and entertaining read.Dawn Davies tells the story of her life from her childhood that was not made easy as she moved towns every couple of years and never seemed to quite fit in - whether it was with the kids in each new town or the other people she meets as she progresses into motherhood.We see the moments of Dawn's life through the stories in this book that t...
  • Dawn Wells
    Praise for an amazing book written by a mom with a child with brain injury.
  • Virginia Macgregor
    I have a great deal of time for writers who write honestly about motherhood. Well, about life, really. And for those who write beautifully too; I have a weak spot for writing that straddles the line between prose and poetry. Dawn Davies does both these things (writes honesty; writes beautifully) and oh so much more in her memoir, Mothers of Sparta. Her writing is brave and raw and physical. She uses sparklingly original metaphors. The kind of met...
  • Karyl
    This book has just skyrocketed to the top of my all-time favorite books. I will never forget this book. It's that good.I related so much to a great deal of this book, from the moving around constantly as a kid, to trying to fit in to a new school with new ways of doing things (what was "cool" in your previous school is now totally pretentious), to feeling like an awkward failure most of the time, to wanting to go to graduate school but being too ...
  • Cheryl
    This is a light read. I breezed through this book in almost one sitting. Although, I will tell you that there were a few moments that were few and far between that I really liked reading about and can remember. Otherwise, the majority of the book was "fine". Not that I am taking anything away from the author and her story but when I am reading a memoir, I want to connect on a personal and emotional level. I really did not experience this while re...
  • Carin
    I do love a memoir, so even though this is a memoir in a series of essays instead of a straight narrative, I was excited. Even though it was about motherhood, I was still really looking forward to it. And I liked the first few essays a lot. Ms. Davies is not a typical soccer mom and she doesn't make any excuses for that. The story about all the household pets that kept dying was hilarious (yes, also sad. But also funny.) And the story about when ...
  • Kathy
    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.Three and a half stars.The book jacket for Dawn Davies' essays led me to believe this would be a series of essays about an angst-filled and reluctant mother, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a set of eclectic personal essays that range in topics and tone. The essays are not necessarily sequential and the end result is a kaleidoscopic view of Davies' life - she honestly re...
  • Jordana Horn Gordon
    This is one of the best books I have ever read. I wish everyone would read this book.
  • olga-maria
    A stunning memoir made up of stunning stand-alone essays, most of which have been published in journals. The overarching story covers everything from the narrator's own childhood, to her two marriages, and the most excruciating challenges motherhood could possibly ever offer. Plus excruciating personal, physical challenges. Plus, it's art made out of words. It's moving, exciting, inspiring... So, so good. I'm going to go write now.PS-I did get to...
  • Ruth Woodman York
    I received an advance copy of this book through a giveaway on Goodreads. The book seemed slow to start, and disjointed, as the timeline was not linear. I think I would have enjoyed it better if the timeline hadn't jumped around so. Also, one chapter, I only read half, then skipped the rest, as I honestly did not need to know what famous people the author would have gladly had sex with. It didn't seem to even be a part of the rest of her story. Th...
  • Lisa Keegan
    I saw the author on an interview and I had to read this book. I was set to give this 3 stars until the last 2 chapters. I knew she had written about her son but wow. Those 2 chapters WERE the book for me
  • Justin
    Dawn Davies digs deep. Missteps of youth, motherhood, regrets, sorrows, consequences, difficult situations with no easy answers, dogs, more dogs, and enough humor to balance the heavy ballast of this linked collection of personal essays. This is vulnerable writing. This is terrific writing.
  • Laura Schrillo
    I have read the other reviews of this book and I guess I am the exception. I hated this from the first sentence but I tried to read on. The first sentence by the way is this gem, "It is a moonless night, dark and rare, and the heat is oppressive, the kind of heat where a deep breath leaves you unsatisfied, suspicious that there was nothing life-giving at all in what you've inhaled, and you are left air-hungry, wet at the pits, forehead greasy wit...
  • Merry Miller moon
    Thank you to Goodreads for the free ARC. I had never heard of this author before. But, you can bet I will look for more books from her in the future. ***POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*** This is a memoir of sorts. As she has chosen certain elements of her life to elaborate on. I cracked up reading the chapter entitled 'Men I Would Have Slept With'-and she mentions Sitting Bull. Who hasn't made up such a list at one time or another in their life? :) Thin...
  • Megan C.
    I've been reading this one each night before bed and I'm LOVING it. It's a collection of essays encompassing the author's life, from childhood to the present day, and it can easily be read straight through or in smaller, separate portions. It's funny and serious and heartwrenching and lovely and REAL.•The essays on parenthood are incredibly powerful, and they all resonated deeply with me, but far and away the most striking was the piece where t...
  • Elizabeth
    3.5/5 I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. I'm torn on this one. It was a well-written quick read and the author's life is interesting, but I can't get over the fact that she was the cause of death for 4 hamsters and 4 (?) pet birds. I know, a weird thing to fixate on, but it bothered me in a memoir about being an mom who would do anything for her kids (but not their pets?). Anyway, the title essay deals with heavy stuff, so you'v...
  • Nicole Wagner
    This is a memoir, presented in chapters that present as short stories but read like excerpts from a woman's diary over the decades of her life from childhood up to middle age. This book took me to some deep places emotionally, as a girl, as a mother, as an animal lover, as a student of history and sociology, as someone who has had my heart broken and laughed at the same time. It surprised me with its intensity. I am tempted to reread it, but it w...
  • Tonstant Weader
    Dawn Davies describes her Mothers of Sparta as a “memoir in pieces,” an excellent way of describing this collection of essays that taken together share many important elements in her life. I think many women will recognize themselves in the fierceness of Davies’ maternal love, the joy, the pride, the sacrifice, and the pain. In some of these essays, she scrapes herself raw to tell the honest story of her life.Davies captured my heart with t...
  • Cindy
    This book wasn't, in fact, a memoir, but instead a series of personal essays written by a woman who has not had an easy life. Although well written, the essays were not at all cohesive in nature. Some were comical while others were dramatic, and others still were serious cries for help. Of special note were the essays about Davies's first marriage, first pregnancy, and her divorce. And of course, the essay about her son (my dear god!), was like n...
  • Kenzee
    *I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway*Ugh. I'm torn with this book. There are parts of it that are really interesting and well-written. But then there are sections, like the first chapter for example, that are legitimately painful to get through. I almost put it down right then and there. It came across really pretentious, like the author was trying far too hard to show she was a good writer (not necessary, she is). When I read a memoir, I wan...
  • Christie
    So this is more of a 3.5 star book for me, but I'm going to round up. I really enjoyed diving into the author's life, at different stages, through some really lovely writing. Although I'm not a mother and didn't connect directly to the author's experiences in motherhood, I appreciated her vulnerable, fans accounting of things that happened. I also appreciate hearing about someone else's battle with kidney stones, and learning about fostering anim...
  • Helois
    A memoir, that reads more like a collection of personal essays or diary entries from different points in the author's life, giving more of a kaleidoscope view of life rather than an actual time line. Which, can possibly be confusing for some. I personally love it, but could see that some people would not. Each chapter details different points in Dawn Davies life, from her childhood to her current life. Some detailing a rough childhood of moving a...
  • Leah
    This book isn't a funny or happy go lucky memoir. Rather, this book is at times funny, at times heart-breaking, at times hard to read, and always very real. It is a memoir about those times and struggles that we all go through, and those times you dearly hope no one you love ever has to go through. This book isn't for someone just looking for a light easy read, but it is beautifully written and worth every second. I thought this book was going to...
  • Ruthie
    Mothers of Sparta is a series of essays that form a memoir. Dawn Davies offers glimpses into her life at various crucial moments. Some funny incidents are included, but overall the tone is of despair, anger, loneliness and frustration. Davies writes in both the first and second person, and for me this was a problem. Many times while reading I felt like I was listening to a very long “voice-over”, the type offered T.V shows such as Grey’s An...
  • Oreoandlucy
    This book left me conflicted about whether or not I liked it. There were a few stories, such as the one where the author walks with her date along a road and witnesses a deadly car crash, that really made me think. That story was actually so moving that it made me cry. There was another story where the author buys a wedding dress from a woman in China who rips off designer gowns. That story made me laugh out loud. Then, the rest of the book was k...
  • Anne Marie
    This is the book about motherhood that you don't even have to be a mother to appreciate. I mean if Tim O'Brien sings its praises she must have something here. Her writing on pregnancy is refreshingly unsentimental, specific and universal. Her writing on post-op pain killers will change the way you think about the opioid crisis if your life has thus far been untouched by it. The raw truth of the title essay will stretch your mind and your heart. M...
  • Benjamin Bookman
    Wow. This book took some turns. No spoilers, I promise, but the chapter that forms the basis for the title is a clear game changer. At first I was a little annoyed that so much was left for the very end, but I have come to realize that it was in a way probably for the best. Not only for the author, but for the reader. I suspect my perceptions would have been dramatically altered if this had been written differently. That being said, I wish that c...
  • Katee
    Three stars because I just couldn't make up my mind. I was not a fan of the first story (even thought it gets high praise from other reviewers) and had to skim through it. Overwritten, tries too hard - she almost lost me for the rest of the book. Then she got me back with the second story.I realize it is a memoir, and real life sucks, but while she is mostly a very good writer, with a good sense of humour, the significant number of references to ...