‘Everything My Mother Taught Me’ by Alice Hoffman -highly recommended short story.

I rather like Amazon’s idea of having collections of short stories, written by well-known writers and available as Kindle and audiobook versions.

One of these collections is called ‘Inheritance’ and focuses on family secrets and their consequences.

When I saw that one of these stories was by Alice Hoffman, I was excited. When I heard the opening sentences, I knew I had to have a copy:

‘There are those who insist that mothers are born with love for their children and place them before all other things, including their own needs and desires. This was not the case with us.’

The dispassionate tone of the second sentence was the hook for me, a move into a minor key that says, ‘something is very wrong here and has been wrong for some time.

So I spent an hour listening to Alice Hoffman’s precise prose describing a girl’s deep understanding of her mother’s loveless nature, her choice to stop speaking after her father’s death and her decision, as she comes of age, on how to put a stop to her mother’s behaviour and achieve her own freedom by learning one of the lessons her mother taught her: put your own needs first.

Brittany Pressley’s narration sets exactly the right tone for the story. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.

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