A provocative and debate-inspiring book which explores the pressure, politics, philosophy and culture of motherhood in today’s society.
Motherhood has changed. For several decades there has been tension between traditional ideas and modern values of mothering. For years the trend was away from the constraints which bound down our own mothers and towards liberating women. But in the 1980s and 1990s the momentum has shifted into sharp reverse.
Mother of All Myths documents the present backlash, examining responses in the media, the courts, the government, in medicine and through ‘pop’ psychology, which reasserts an old-fashioned, conservative and narrow view of what a mother should be and do.
In addition, the author explores the strong, highly idealized concept of motherhood that exists in the West; finding reflections of that image in history, in Christianity, in literature and in mythology.
So why is this backlash happening now and who is losing out? This powerful book provides a long-overdue debate on motherhood by pressing that society should not only rethink our concept of mothering and responsibility, but strip motherhood of the worst excesses of sentimentality thereby allowing the mother’s needs to be more evenly balanced against those of the child.
About the author
Aminatta Forna is a writer and author of The Devil that Danced on the Water, a memoir of her dissident father. Her most recent book Ancestor Stones, a novel, was published in July 2006 and tells the story of the lives of four sister, daughters of a wealthy West African plantation owner. Published in 2002, The Devil that Danced on the Water was runner-up for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2003 serialised as 'Book of the Week' on BBC Radio and extracted in the Sunday Times newspaper in the UK. In the United States it was selected for the Barnes & Noble new writers Discovery series. Aminatta returned to Sierra Leone to film a documentary series 'Africa Unmasked,' which examined many of the themes of her recent book. The series aired on Channel 4 in November 2002. A former BBC reporter, she reported and presented on various politics, current affairs and arts programmes between 1989 and 1999. She is a contributor to several newspapers including the Independent, The Observer, the Sunday Times and the Evening Standard. She has acted as a judge for the MacMillan African Writer's Prize in 2003, the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2004 and the Caine Prize for Africa 2005 and 2006. She sits on the board of the Caine Prize and also Index on Censorship.