I have read some of the books that Ruth Reichl has written. She is a good writer, the words seem to flow and most important she tells a good story. She also happens to be a cookbook writer and the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine.
Her mother was a terrible cook. Her last book, Not Becoming My Mother and Other Things She Taught Me Along The Way, is a quick read and for anyone. It should have been an article in the New Yorker. Maybe Reichl wrote it because it was something she had to put on paper. She learned a lot about who her Mom really was after her death as she read through the vast amount of letters she had kept. Her mother, if born in another generation, like today, would have been a doctor. That is really what she wanted to do but her parents pushed her towards doing something that they thought was more appropriate and she obeyed although unhappily. She never wanted the same for her daughter.
Although short and not sure why it wasn't printed in a magazine instead of a hard back, the book hit a chord with me. Maybe as I have a daughter who just entered college and I am hoping that she can follow whatever path she desires for her life. Was is that way for my generation? I want to believe that we have come a long way but in many ways we haven't.
Sure some women have chosen to follow a career path, not have children or stay single. Others have tried to do it all, have the career, the marriage and the kids. It is still hard no matter which way you cut it. Sometimes I look around at my friends and the ones that are in the same boat as I am have chosen at one point to stay home and find other ways to get the self satisfaction from working like the school board or a non-profit. In essence, they are managing the household and the kids and being the support staff for their husbands profession. Now, isn't that what many women did in the last generation? Particularly as the nest becomes empty, many women are taking a look around and saying, now what?
Ruth's Mom was one of those women of past generations that if she had been born the son, her intellectual desires and curiosity would have been embraced at a completely different level. So on that note, a lot has changed in the past 50 years. Yet there are many reasons for not becoming your mother but as much as things have changed, in some ways they haven't changed that much.