Of Men and Their Mothers
- An IndieNext (BookSense) Notable Book
"Every time I think of my mother in law, I want to take to my bed..."
All men have mothers is a hard truth that the newly unhyphenated Maisie Grey has learned the hard way. When she finally gets rid of the mama's-boy husband, and happily settles down with her teenage son, Tommy, she's still stuck with her irascible mother-in-law, a woman who never liked her, criticized her every step of the way, and yet, as Tommy's grandmother, refuses to exit the family stage gracefully.
Maisie keeps it together with her own business, Factotum, Inc., where she does it all for her clients—everything from watering plants, typing up lecture notes, and cataloguing cookbooks. In between she balances a relationship with a man who still lives in—where else but?—his mother's house and mentors her sole employee, Darlene, now fighting for custody of both her breast milk and her child. Burned by the MIL-from-hell, Maisie vows that when Tommy brings someone home, she will be empathetic, supportive and envelop the young woman in a loving embrace....the opposite of her own experience.
But along comes September Silva, with her piercings, short skirts, black nail polish, and stay-out-all-night attitude, completely unsuitable for Maisie's teenage son! When September's mother kicks her out, Maisie is forced to take a clear-eyed look at class differences, preconceived notions of men and women and what it means to be a wife, a friend, and a non-judgmental mother. When do you let go? And how do you let go if you're sure your son is making a very big mistake? Maisie's challenge: to build a grown-up life and to find a man grown-up enough to have disentangled himself from those unrelenting, all-engulfing apron strings.
Praise for Of Men and Their Mothers
"The mother-in-law, that staple of stand-up comedy routines. Does she still have any power left after decades of pummeling? In Mameve Medwed's new novel, Of Men and Their Mothers, she certainly does. Ina Pollock, Maisie Grey's loathsome ex-mother-in-law, can raise the reader's pulse with a single phone call... As Medwed's narrator, Maisie is great at chattily spooling things along. ("About my job," she begins one chapter. "But, first, let me backtrack to high school.") The book is crammed with nice touches like Ina's potpie business, which sells, among other things, the Drumstick Bangers and Mash, the Turkey Trot and the Wings à la King... lively writing." The New York Times Book Review
"[A] zany, highly comical page-turner. Medwed...is a seasoned and lively storyteller." Emily Cook, Booklist
"Mameve Medwed's Of Men and Their Mothers takes a humorous and intelligent look at the often dysfunctional relationships of mothers and sons, wives and mothers-in-law, even mothers and daughters.... In the end, good outwits evil, anger melts into understanding, and Maisie even gets the loving boyfriend she deserves. Medwed's pleasant, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based fairy tale flies sweetly from page to page." Jamie Caploe, Ladies Home Journal
"A book that's buoyed throughout by Medwed's nervy sense of humor...a thoroughly absorbing page turner...Medwed creates a vivid sense of pace, lampooning Harvard as the center of the known universe...Medwed has a great eye for physical detail...a deft prose stylist, she peppers her writing with zingy one-liners and memorable turns of phrase. She is especially adroit at crafting dialogue that keeps the narrative humming...this mother-in-law from Hades is an inspired comic creation...Medwed refuses to let the stereotypes stand. Her characters don't remain inside convenient little boxes." The Boston Globe
"The world's worst ex-mother-in-law is a delicious character for Mameve Medwed to skewer and serve up in zippy, witty style in her new novel." The Improper Bostonian
The Chicago Sun-Times has selected Of Men and Their Mothers as a Mother's Day book recommendation.
Of Men and Their Mothers is a BookSense "Notable Book" for May and a Denver Post Editor's Choice book.
"Quirky characters keep this drama of relationships in their many forms interesting. A quick and satisfying read; recommended for all public libraries." Karen Core, Detroit Public Library, for Library Journal