In the 17 years since Motherless Daughters was first published I've heard from thousands of readers who've written in to share their individual stories. Among the many common experiences we share, one tends to surface frequently: without a mother, many of us feel we lack much of the basic information women need and that women with mothers naturally possess and we don't know who or how to ask.
I think of a woman I met back in the early 1990s, whose story appears in the first edition of Motherless Daughters, who told me about stealing an etiquette book from her local library when she was about eleven and reading it cover-to-cover when she got home because she was so hungry for information about how to be a woman, and so afraid of doing the wrong things, after her mother died when she was nine. All these years that story has stuck with me and it's no less poignant or heartbreaking now than it was eighteen years ago. I thought of it again the other night as I was explaining the elusive rules about thank-you notes to my thirteen-year-old daughter. If I weren't here to tell her, how would she know when to send them or what to write? Would she even know she was supposed to send thank-you notes at all?
Motherless Daughters was meant to be an overview book that identified and explained a phenomenon rather than a self-help book or how-to manual. But lately I've been wondering if, in addition, motherless girls and women would also benefit from short, very practical guidebooks to navigating some of the situations and life events that mothers typically teach daughters how to manage or actually steer them through. And of course, plenty of women with mothers don't get what they feel they need from them, so these guides might be helpful for them, too.
At the very bottom of this page I've made a list of the subjects that come up most in reader mail, and for which motherless women often feel in need of guidance or advice. Would you be willing to take a look and let me know which would be or would have been most useful for you? Please scroll all the way down to find the poll and to vote. This will give me an idea of which one(s) to start with or if this is even a good idea. (The titles listed in the polls are only placeholders at the moment to convey the main ideas; hopefully I'll come up with better ones later, or please suggest one or more that you like.) And please feel free to suggest guides that aren't on the list, or comments about the idea in general in the comments section below.
Would you buy any of these guides for yourself? For someone you know? Would you like to see several bundled together in a set? How would you like the information to be presented? Or do you feel that Motherless Daughters and Motherless Mothers have already covered this material sufficiently for you?
Very much looking forward to your thoughts,