Mothers and Other Strangers: Stories

Budge Wilson, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $16 (0p) ISBN 978-0-15-200312-8
Wilson's third collection of short stories is as keenly perceptive as The Dandelion Garden but slightly mellower. Her nine protagonists, who range in age from 18 to 77, have each been marked by overbearing fathers, docile mothers, superior-minded siblings and the like. Rather than dwelling on psychological scars, however, the author focuses on turning points in characters' lives-the moments when, after reflecting upon the past, men and women feel compelled to change their fates. A neurotic poet filled with regrets begins living in the present when he is dazzled by a pair of extraordinary eyes. Recognizing that she has become a much a ""doormat"" as her own mother, a 55-year-old woman going through a ""weepy phase"" finds the courage to take a stand against her husband. On her way to a college reunion, 76-year-old Agatha, a successful and powerful lawyer, overcomes her nervousness about facing peers whose beauty and success with men had once seemed to signal her own inadequacy. Reverberating with wisdom and sharp-edged humor, this study of humanity will be savored by parents as well as young adults. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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