Kim Chernin, author of The Hungry Self and In My Mother's House, has already written extensively about her own mother. She has also collected countless mother stories--stories that have the force of myth that are told by women about their mothers. In this intriguing book, Chernin asserts that in order for daughters to become complete individuals, they must, in some sense, psychically "birth" their own mothers. In explaining this provocative theory, she presents characteristic elements of the mother story, including idealization, blame, guilt, forgiveness, and letting go ("giving birth"). She then challenges the reader to trace these elements and identify the themes in six "real but invented" portraits of women and their mothers. During this moving and sometimes confusing process, readers will eventually come to a new level of understanding about the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship--leaving any candy-coated, romanticized vision far behind. The Woman Who Gave Birth to Her Mother--beautifully written and often painful to read--generates more questions about mothers and daughters than it answers, but you'll never look at a mother-daughter story in the same way again.