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Lynn Davidman's study analyzes the immediate and continuing impact of a mother's premature death on the children she leaves behind. Drawing on interviews with 60 adults from a variety of class backgrounds, Davidman argues that the experience of motherloss is shaped by our social conceptions of women's roles in the family and in society. Speaking candidly, Davidman's interviewees were glad for the opportunity to break cultural taboos and silences about death and to create stories that reveal the power of this early loss to influence their lifelong conceptions of self, family, community, God, and love. The author highlights the narratives of ten respondents, weaving them together into a book that reveals the numerous common themes - as well as the individual variations - in people's stories.
Lynn Davidman is Associate Professor of American Civilization, Judaic Studies, and Women's Studies at Brown University. She is the author of Tradition in a Rootless World: Women Turn to Orthodox Judaism (California, 1991) and coeditor of Feminist Perspectives on Jewish Studies (1994).