The Bad MotherBook - 2016
Originally published in French as La Mauvaise Mère in 2013, this book from Andersen (Le Figuier sur le Toit) won the Trillium Award. Andersen adheres to neither grammatical nor poetic conventions while writing in the French tradition of confessional, autobiographical fiction (she cites Rousseau as her chief muse), so the book is both a novel and a memoir. As such, the work feels experimental, but interesting, welcoming, and intrinsically relatable despite its deeply personal subject matter. The work traces Andersen's relationship with her three children as she lived with them, and at times apart from them, in Tunisia, Germany, Ethiopia, and Canada from the time leading up to the birth of her firstborn in 1946 to the present day. Throughout, the work explores what kind of mother Andersen was and is, along with how being a mother affected her choices, her freedoms, and her overall personhood. Andersen writes with strength, even as she exposes her innermost doubts and perceived failings, and her confessional stream of consciousness style is eloquent and inviting, even when addressing difficult political and social issues. Every mother may have doubts, but few put them in writing with such power and grace.
Publisher: Toronto : Second Story Press, ©2016
Branch Call Number: ANDERSE
Characteristics: 202 pages