Book Review: “My Mother and Me” By Thomas Hauser

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Posted on 04/17/2024

Book Review by Robert L. Seltzer

“MY MOTHER and me” by Thomas Hauser

“MY MOTHER and me” is one of those books that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.

The book has a narrow focus — the relationship between a son and his mother. But there is nothing narrow or parochial in the approach. Like all talented writers, Thomas Hauser captures the universal by portraying the specific.

A slender book — only 140 pages — the memoir is no less substantial for its brevity. The writing is clear and lucid with gentle flights of poetry that reflect the emotions that motivated the son to write about his mother. She was a remarkable woman — strong, intelligent and fiercely committed to those less fortunate than her. 

For all her sterling attributes, however, we would never have gotten to meet Eleanor Nordlinger Hauser — “Ellie,” to her friends — without a son who considered her life worth documenting. He was right, although this book is no hagiography. The author offers a full portrait of his mother, flaws and all, and she emerges all the more admirable for the honest depiction.

The book represents the ideal partnership between story and story teller because, for all her sterling qualities, it took a brilliant writer to paint a complete and vivid portrait of her. That the “brilliant writer” turned out to be her son adds an almost heartbreaking poignancy to “MY MOTHER and me.”

In sentence after sentence, page after page, you read prose that embodies the single greatest trait a writer can possess. The prose compels you to keep reading, but you do not just read the words; you hear them, their rhythm and cadence guiding you from passage to passage. The cliché rings true with “MY MOTHER and Me” — you will not be able to put it down. 

Robert L. Seltzer is a former recipient of the Nat Fleischer Award for Career Excellence in Boxing Journalism and the author of two books – “Amado Muro and Me” and “Thursday Night at the Mall”.

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