Representations of Motherhood

Novel Assignemnt

The Goodbye Quilt - Published in 2011 - Takes place in 2000's

So as soon as I saw this book title I was intrigued. My mother has been a seamstress and avid quilter all of her life and I have been kinda sucked into that world of hers as well...but it's a bit hard to understand. The book actually made a comment about this that said, "Nonquilters have a hard time getting their heads around the time and trouble of a project like this [the quilt]." This statement was so accurate! So I just really felt a connection right away with the mother being portrayed because she is a lot like my mom. This story is actually based upon the real life of the writer - Susan Wiggs. Linda Davis is the name she goes by in this book and is really into quilting. She has a daughter by the name of Molly Davis who just graduated high school. Linda and Molly decide to make a fun mother-daughter road trip across the US to get Molly to her East Coast college. Linda is in the process of making a quilt for her daughter with all sorts of different bits and pieces of Molly's childhood things. The one word I can think of to describe how Linda is portrayed in all of this is very real. I'm no mother but I feel as if she is a very relatable character for mothers. She's a happy mother who has worked hard with her husband to raise Molly and that's a great accomplishment...but what next? She feels fear and sadness at this new step she's about to take as a mother now seeing her daughter go off to college...and it's a heart wrenching thing to read about given that my mom and I have been in that position. She's a mother who has dedicated her life to Molly and her family. Linda gave up college to raise Molly so there is a lot of protectiveness over her...and sometimes a little overbearing. But once again - this is something very real and relatable about Linda's character. She wants Molly to have a better life than she had and hopes that she makes the right decisions to get to that. Linda is a mother that shows compassion easily and is very in tune with her emotions. She's not like one of those mothers who is afraid to not look perfect or is as strict as can be...she's soft but still strong. I also feel that Linda is portrayed as a very wise mother. Her thoughts are very eloquent and shows that she puts value into the things that really matter...with an occasional panic here and there. But I feel like this quote shows what I mean - "A scrap of fabric here -memories, a thread there -wisdom, each knot -hope and dreams, make up the tangible pieces of the quilt." She is also a wise mother because she at times will realize her daughter may have better insight on something. In most of what we have studied, a mother is portrayed as this, "I know all" type but is still loving. Nothing really shows when the daughter actually calls something out and the daughter may actually be right. It once again adds to that real and relatable dynamic. Overall I think this is a wonderful book that anyone mother and daughter should read together and learn a thing or two.
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