Reviews for Embalming Mom : Essays in Life


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 March 2002
Burroway, author of Cutting Stone (1992) and six other novels, is a pithy essayist with an inner compass that steers her to the ambiguity at the heart of the human condition. Enamored of literature early on, her life path intersected with Sylvia Plath's. Both were guest editors at Mademoiselle in the 1950s; Burroway also attended Cambridge (with such eminent classmates as Margaret Drabble and Ian McKellen), and, like Plath, she feared that marriage would preclude her writing. After adding her frank and enlightening analysis to the ongoing postmortem of Plath's suicide, she records some dark moments of her own. But as she reveals in a deliciously mordant piece about her postdivorce move to Tallahassee with her two sons, she is too intrigued and bemused by life to stay depressed for long. As Burroway remembers her mother, dissects gender roles and political correctness, recounts a chilling session with a callous male gynecologist, and reflects on the marvels and annoyances of the female body, she celebrates all the vicissitudes of womanhood with pride and drollery. ((Reviewed March 1, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

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Library Journal Reviews 2002 March #1
As a young woman, novelist Burroway (The Buzzards; Raw Silk) was an early Mademoiselle guest editor in New York, a Barnard graduate who expected to use her education in child rearing, and a Cambridge student. Her struggles with her generation's conflicting impulses toward work and love are a reminder of prefeminist America. This collection of 16 essays opens with "I Didn't Know Sylvia Plath." Although their paths crossed repeatedly before Plath's suicide, Burroway never felt that she knew the poet. Yet they juggled the same issues, from writing aspirations to depressions, failed marriages, and the demands of young children. Burroway allows the reader intimate glimpses of her life as a child in Arizona; a student in the Northeast; a graduate student, newlywed, and young mother in England; and a divorced single parent, finding her path as a writer and professor in Florida. Alternately clever, humorous, lively, sad, and charming, her book is recommended for both public and academic libraries with large women's collections. [Embalming Mom is the inaugural volume in the University of Iowa Press's new "Sightline Books" series, dedicated to creative nonfiction. Ed.] Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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