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Describing Talking to my Mother is easy. Describing its effect on the reader is not. Its structure is simple: 99 short anecdotes from a phone and Skype conversations between the author (in New York City) and her mother (in Israel). The style is simple, open, and honest. Many of the vignettes end with some sort of brief moral.
The repetitive elements give the book a rhythm that draws the reader along, and the author’s openness and vulnerability encourage the reader to share in her feelings as she shares them with her mother, facing challenges and remembering the past, with her mother’s reassurances and observations to steady and guide her.
The simple structure and style welcome us in. The hidden depths make us wonder. The book allows us to pause and reflect between episodes. There is deep humility. There is some of the feeling of Aesop’s Fables and stories of Zen monks. It makes you want to hug people—or at least sit down for a nice, long talk.