Motherland by Elissa Altman


"I'm reading this book right now and loving it!"--Cheryl Strayed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of WildHow can a mother and daughter who love (but don't always like) each other coexist without driving each other crazy? "A wry and moving meditation on aging and the different kinds of love between women."--O: The Oprah Magazine ("2019's Best LGBTQ Books")After surviving a traumatic childhood in nineteen-seventies New York and young adulthood...

Details Motherland

Release DateAug 6th, 2019
PublisherBallantine Books
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, LGBT, Family

Reviews Motherland

  • Peter Zheutlin
    Elissa Altman is the rare writer who seems to produce a gem with every sentence. Her prose is pitch-perfect and her eye for the telling detail is keen. Though her relationship with her narcissistic mother is difficult, and she's often on the receiving end of small, if not always intentional cruelties, her love and devotion to this vain and complex woman are heroic. Through it all Altman's wry humor and wit remain intact. This is a book of enormou...
  • Donna Hines
    Can opposites attract? Can a narcissistic mother truly love? Can the narc daughter every truly be herself under the confines of this unsteady, turbulent, egotistical relationship?Can you truly have a maternal bond when the maternal aspect is missing?Having a mother of the same magnitude I can tell you the answer is NO!Narc mothers only truly love one person themselves.In fact both my narc parents are elderly and in need of assistance and as the d...
  • Sara D
    This memoir lays bare Elissa Altman's troubled relationship with her mother. I am from the upbringing that dictates "no one bad-mouths my mother but me", So you can listen to me complain about my mother as long as I want to rant, but you had better not chip in, because that's my mother! So, I find it difficult here to say anything about Altman's mother, but I don't have to, because I am the gentle listener to her incredibly well-written, well-art...
  • Alice
    Motherland is far more than just the memoir of a mother-daughter relationship. Elissa Altman’s complex story and oft-times obsessive connection to a sometimes-demonic narcissist of a mother is both an addiction in its own right; and a compulsively seductive story of passionate love, concealed rage, disappointment and a yearning for redemption. This spectacularly well written tale of profound connection is clearly a relationship that needed to b...
  • Lucy Burdette
    Elissa Altman tells the astonishing and poignant story of her troubled relationship with a narcissistic mother. It's beautifully written--alternately funny and tragic. I loved it.
  • Alissa
    Note: Thank you to NetGalley, from whom I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Elissa Altman is a wonderful writer in the sense that with her words he enables the reader to fully picture the scenes, the people, the places about which she writes. In this case, I do feel like I know Elissa's parents, step-parents, Gaga (grandmother). I feel like I can picture both her mother's NYC apartment and Elissa's Connecticut cot...
  • Kristina Elias
    * I was provided with an advanced e-book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. "Give me your shorts. The pleated ones." "You hate pleats." "GIVE ME YOUR SHORTS OR I WILL KILL MYSELF."I felt badly about giving MOTHERLAND 2.5 stars. Clearly, Elissa Altman's story was a difficult one to tell, but the way she wrote it undercut her sad and dramatic story. Altman's story is about her mother and her obsession with her own beauty. Beginning at ...
  • kglibrarian
    After hearing Elissa Altman being interviewed by Zibby Owens for her podcast Mom's Don't Have Time to Read Books (I highly recommend it if you like books), I was compelled to read Motherland to find out more about this fascinating author.In this honest, poetic memoir, Altman catalogues her dysfunctional relationship with her mother, who was semi-famous earlier in her life. Singing on TV shows and in popular New York City clubs, Rita made it clear...
  • KMcd
    I won this as a free giveaway in exchange for an honest review through good reads, compliments of the publisher. This was my first read from Elissa Altman and it surely will not be my last. The quality of her writing is astounding. I was initially outraged and furious while reading, but quickly realized that in actuality, this books is heartbreaking. I feel many reviews may reflect the subject matter and the readers’ personal feelings of Altman...
  • Katie Devine
    Elissa Altman's gorgeous new memoir, Motherland (her third) was the exact blend of poetry and love story I very much needed this week. “My mother is beauty and she is music, and I love her to my bones. If she is broken, we are both broken. If she is whole, we are whole.”This most primal of relationships, the most fierce and complex and formative and damaging and abiding, is mined through Altman's most intimate memories and rendered through a ...
  • Stacie Saurer
    **I received a Kindle version of this book as a Goodreads giveaway.**As someone with her own complicated mother-daughter relationship, this book hit home. I look at others with these magical, my-mom-is-my-best-friend experiences and can't help but feel like something is missing in my own life. Like Altman, I could never completely cut the cord and will always find my mother's life intertwined with my own. Altman's descriptions of her mom sometime...
  • Terry
    WHEW!!!!! WOW - So this book takes you through the trials and tribulations of a mother-daughter relationship that may indeed sound familiar to some! A bit heart wrenching at times, and riddled with an unbridled honesty about this relationship; a relationship, that is for most of us daughters, dysfunctional. We yearn for a love from our mothers that is unconditional, though the majority do not understand that concept. Many mothers have bear their ...
  • Julie
    Thank you to the publisher who provided me with a free digital copy of MOTHERLAND won through a Goodreads giveaway. Altman’s prose is beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her words. Even more impressive is the characterization of her mother that creates a larger-than-life, memorable picture of a complex woman. I applaud Altman’s bravery in so openly analyzing her fraught relationship with her mother and the intimacies of her own inner ...
  • Lisa Cobb Sabatini
    I won a copy of Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing, and Longing by Elissa Altman from Goodreads.Blessed AND cursed are the tires that bind a daughter to her mother, and in her book, Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing, and Longing, author Elissa Altman explores the often contradictory feelings of her relationship with her own mother. Drawing in the reader immediately and never letting go, the writer shared her story with a narrative that i...
  • deborah schiff
    For anyone who was moved by Educated, this soonto be released memoir is a must read. It exploresthe power that love bestows, as well as the powerlessness that same love can create. Theintensity of the struggle for independence, to createa life that belongs to oneself, will leave you withan emotional workout and will provide a great opportunity for some introspection. Anyone who isan only child, a daughter, a mother or is caring for an aging paren...
  • Licia Morelli
    Elissa Altman delivers once again. From start to finish, Motherland allows us a peek inside the inner workings of a complicated and heart tugging mother/daughter relationship. Altman's voice transports us into an immediate understanding of her world, both inner and outer, and the emotions that run as a through line between her and her mother. Through humor, wit, grit, grace and pure will, Altman shows us how to navigate towards clarity within one...
  • Meredith Maran
    Motherland: no matter where you go, there it is. I have my own motherhood problems, giving and receiving ends, but even if I'd never been born or given birth I would have loved loved loved this beautifully written, hilarious, evocative, addictive, brilliant, wonderful book. Whether you have a mother or are a mother or none of the above, you'll come away from MOTHERLAND with a smile on your face, thinking new, important thoughts.
  • Nicole Gulotta
    Altman’s had a fractured relationship with her narcissistic mother since the day she was born, but when her mother took a fall and needed medical attention, Altman became her caretaker and proceeded to excavate memories that were long buried. This memoir is a poignant look at the complicated love and loathing between mothers and daughters and asks fundamental questions about family, moral responsibility, acceptance, and forgiveness.
  • Donna Jones
    Well-written memoir focused on the relationship of a mother who depended on her beauty and brief stardom she experienced before motherhood for her self-esteem (fighting always to show her long-dead parents that their telling her of she was homely as a child was proved wrong), her difficulty in seeing that her daughter was not a replica of herself, and the difficulties that created in the mother-daughter relationship.
  • Laurie Lichtenstein
    A mother daughter memoir, beautifully written that explores a very complicated relationship. What I find particularly interesting was that the story is still being written, as Elissa has not yet come to terms with her fierce loyalty to her very complex difficult mother. I definitely wanted to know more-- about her relationship with her father and her partner, whom she loves and must be a saint to put up with her mother in law!
  • Emily
    I received this book from Goodreads in exchange for a review. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I was expecting another boring memoir that read like straight non-fiction. This book read more like a story and it made it flow so much more easily. The relationship between the mother and daughter was not easy for me to relate to my own life, but because of how it was written, it made me love them.
  • Judy Gelman
    I adored Altman's Poor Man's Feast and Treyf, and eagerly anticipated Motherland, the story of her relationship with her beautiful, complicated mother. Altman is settled in life when her mother has an accident and becomes dependent, and the two navigate new terrain. This is a compassionate, engaging, beautifully written memoir. Altman’s honesty, humor, insight have stayed with me since I put the down (after reading in one sitting). A must read.
  • Leigh
    I wanted this author to end the horrible cycle of abuse and alcoholism that radiated with hurt and self flagellation on every page. A very talented author who left us readers with a terse, ineffective ending. While understandable, this book felt more like a project of vengeance for a cruel upbringing, rather than a tale of personal exploration. I wished the best for everyone and hoped that they would find their way to successful therapy sooner ra...
  • Joyce
    I am thoroughly enjoying the narrative prose. I feel that I am living the memoir and am fascinated by the story. Everyone who has a mother, and watched their mother age will be drawn to this book. The story jumps back and forth in the life of the author in an engaging way. All the characters are so beautifully described that you feel you know them too. I recommend this book highly.Well, I did finish this wonderful love story and highly recommend ...
  • Chris
    A must read!I flew through this book in less than two days absorbing every word, at times feeling like I had written them myself. Elissa Altman’s unique voice carries the story to a satisfying end. Anyone who has ever had a complicated relationship with their mother should read this book.
  • Janilyn Kocher
    Motherland is a rather sad story of the author's realtionship with her mother. The mother is very self-absorbed and demanding. The author is expected to cater to her every whim and assume responsibility for her after she is unable to care for herself. I found the ending to be unresolved, there is no hint how the relationship ends. Thanks to NetGalley for the early read.
  • Deanna
    I thought it was a very good book..well written. I read it in one day. I cannot really relate to it as my mother was wonderful and all 5 of her children always treated her with much respect and love. Too bad all families aren’t like that. The mother and daughter in the book really did love each other even though it was a difficult relationship. Anyway...a very good book!
  • Terry Minogue
    Funny and touchingAs I get older I find that the Ten Commandments make more sense all the time. Elissa Altman's masterpiece, Motherland, is a wonderful study of Honor Thy Father and Mother. Both hilarious and poignant, this book made me laugh and cry. I recommend it highly. --Terence Minogue
  • Beth
    I really enjoyed this book. The mother is a character who would of been in therepy forever with no result. I admire the daughter for trying to be herself while dealing with her mother who was in her own little world. I am glad I read this book because it gave me a lot of insight into relationships. If you read this book you will put it down and savor life.
  • Hope Lillian
    A witty, brilliant, brutally honest and vivid portrayal of deeply complex family relationships. Mothers and daughters will be drawn to the story on painful and joyous levels. Beautifully crafted by Ms. Altman.