My Mother’s Wisdom, or How Does the Phoenix Rise From the Ashes? by Gay Rodrigues
This bright-spirited memoir is a reminder of what it means to be young and doubtful, and to feel like you don’t belong or that no one understands you. In “My Mother’s Wisdom,” Rodrigues relates the story of her childhood: she grew up in Northern California’s Santa Clara Valley (later to be rechristened “Silicon Valley,” once the tech boom hit) on her parents’ prosperous pear orchard. She dabbled in music and student leadership but didn’t really find her true calling until later in life. At just 117 pounds, Rodrigues considered herself to be “the fattiest, ugliest girl in California” – and if that isn’t an indication of how much damage the media can have on a young person’s self-confidence, then I don’t know what is. After high school, she quickly married and moved far away from her friends and family, which ultimately she considered to be one of her life’s biggest mistakes. But Rodrigues avowed to go back to school and get her degree in Criminology, and eventually she makes the decision to cut her abusive husband out of her life and return to her loved ones in California.
“My Mother’s Wisdom” is a colorful, thoughtful collection of one mother’s advice to her daughter that is sure to be a comfort to anyone navigating through life’s maelstroms. It would also make a wonderful gift for someone who is about to pass a major life milestone, or for anyone who needs a reminder of how much they are loved. Rodrigues has helpfully included a set of reflection questions at the end of her memoir, for personal contemplation or as part of a book club discussion. Readers will find hope and inspiration in the numerous phrases and images included throughout “My Mother’s Wisdom,” and we hope they will also find the strength to follow their own path in life.
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