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Who do you remember, who have you loved, who were you raised by? There are thousands of astonishing women who may never have so much as a magazine article, much less a book, written about their lives. Mason has given us a gift: the opportunity to look into her matrilineal memories, and to take a moment to look into a mirror, and remember the women who gave both our faces and our characters their shape. — Dawn Robinson, Lambda Literary Review
Janet Mason, a second generation feminist, intimately explores the paradoxical legacies of family and culture. Any woman who has borne witness to the passing of hermother will be moved by this account and any woman who has yet to face this life-changing transition will be illuminated and directed, as if by a map. — Sheila Ortiz Taylor
Tea Leaves is a heartbreaking story of loss and at the same time a fierce and jubilant tribute. It reminds us of the way as daughters our accomplishments are always entangled in our mother’s disappointed dreams. As Janet Mason reveals the legacy of frustration, shame and rage that passed like an unspoken heirloom through generations of her working-class family, she also uncovers a stubborn, bright hope, and a keen sense of injustice, that are equally her inheritance. This vivid and moving memoir leaves us knowing that Mason’s dialogue with her mother will go on forever and will continue to transform her, in the way we are all continually in conversation – painful and liberating – with the past.— Karen S. Mittelman, author/historian
Tea Leaves is a story of mothers and daughters, embarking when the narrator’s mother is diagnosed with fourth stage cancer. A dutiful daughter, the narrator proceeds to take care of her mother, 74-year-old Jane, and enters a deeper understanding of her own life through her mother’s stories. Her grandmother (born in 1899) was a spinner in a textile mill and white glove wearing lady of her generation, her mother (born in 1920) was an office worker and feminist ahead of her time. The narrator has taken the foundation of her mother’s life and forged her own – taking her mother’s feminism one step further in becoming a lesbian and becoming the first in her family to graduate from college. Tea Leaves is a story of gender and class, identity and sexuality but, most of all, it is about love.
Excerpts of Tea Leaves have been published in Mom, Alyson Books; The Advocate; Telling Moments: Autobiographical Lesbian Short Stories, University of Wisconsin Press; and Dutiful Daughters: Caring for Our Parents as They Grow Old, Seal Press; and Sinister Wisdom (Issue Number 68/69 — Death, Grief and Suffering.)
|Pub Date:||April 2012|