fierce attachments

a mother-daughter blog about the fierce attachments in our lives… title inspired by Vivian Gornick's wonderful memoir

Tag: mother-daughter relationships

mother-daughter relationships: then and now

by nikki meredith

Image via Couture Allure

Easter Sunday. I’m 10 years old.  While other families are attending Easter sunrise services at the Hollywood Bowl, my family is in my father’s Buick heading to Rand’s Roundup in Hollywood – a restaurant billed as an urban chuck wagon.    I’m clutching my Easter basket – my brother is 14 and too old for Easter baskets — but we are each holding a cellophane bag of foil-covered Sees chocolate eggs that my mother’s Jewish friend Rose gives us every Easter to celebrate our secular L.A. urban holiday.

My mother and I are wearing Easter bonnets —  plain straw hats to which she has attached fresh gardenias — and matching dresses. I love the dresses — delicate Swiss cotton in pale yellow with tiny pearl buttons down the front. I like being twins with my mother. I like my mother. That will change but I don’t know it yet. Read the rest of this entry »


fierce attachments: difficult mothers and the daughters who love them

by nikki meredith

A few years ago I was at an all women dinner party and we started talking about our mothers. Because it’s Marin County — an area saturated with shrinks of all stripes —  there was a lot of shrinkish  vocabulary circulating the room.  At one point when I talked about my mother and my complicated relationship with her, one of the women said,  “She must have been a narcissist.” No, I said, she was not a narcissist and I tried to back up my claim with examples of her non-narcissistic behavior. Another woman opined that my mother must have had boundary issues. Yet another, diagnosed her as borderline. I changed the subject. These terms, as applied to someone I cared about, were not only off the mark, they were offensive.  Where, I thought, is a novelist when you need one?

And this brings me to Vivian Gornick and her book, Fierce Attachments, a memoir structured around her walks with her aged mother in New York City and after which we named this web site. Gornick is not a novelist and it is not a work of fiction – I’ll get to that issue in a minute — but if you’ve read it, try to imagine someone affixing Gornick’s mother – an exasperating woman who could be petty and narrow-minded but who was also smart, courageous, and funny – with a label from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.  Imagine how much of the power and the intensity would be lost. Read the rest of this entry »

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