In this poignant and beautifully written novel, Sherri Wood Emmons, acclaimed author of Prayers and Lies, explores the complex bond between a daughter and her errant mother.
Judy Webster is born in a mud-splattered tent at Woodstock, just as Crosby, Stills, and Nash take the stage. Her mother, Cassie, is a beautiful, flawed flower-child who brings her little girl to anti-war protests and parties rather than enroll her in pre-school. But as Cassie's husband, Kirk, gradually abandons '60s ideals in favor of a steady home and a law degree, their once idyllic marriage crumbles.
Dragging Judy back from the Kentucky commune where Cassie has taken her, Kirk files for divorce and is awarded custody. When Cassie eventually moves to an ashram in India, Judy is grief-stricken. At school, she constructs lies to explain her unconventional home-life, trying desperately to fit in to the world her mother rejected.
Cassie calls and writes, occasionally entering Judy's life just long enough to disrupt it. But little by little, Judy is growing up. As she grapples with her father's remarriage and her own reckless urges, she encounters all the joy and heartbreak that goes with first love, first loss, sex, drugs, and self-discovery. And when Cassie comes home again, Judy, who has tried so long to find a place in her mother's life, must finally decide what place Cassie claims in hers.
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You can see the full discussion here. This discussion will contain spoilers!
Some of the recent comments posted about The Sometimes Daughter:
Do you believe that Cassie will be able to change her life, as she promises Judy she will at the end of the novel?
I guess it would be possible though probably unlikely. Sometimes people do change if they experience enough pain. She would need a lot of support and encouragement. - pennyp
Do you think Cassie is a sympathetic character?
I didn't find Cassie to be a particularly sympathetic person. Yes, she had some bad things happen to her in her life, but I think at some point a person needs to grow up and get beyond the things that have happened. I felt that Cassie was always ... - elizabethh
Do you think it's inevitable that we end up like, or partially like, our parents, or can we chart our own courses?
I think most of us desire to maintain the good characteristics of our parents and expunge what we consider to be the bad characteristics. I think to some dgree we can change these things but some of them may be imbedded pretty deeply. Many times, I ... - pennyp
Does Cassie’s final revelation explain her behavior? Does it excuse it?
I agree with all of the posts here. We all have something in our past that would provide excuses for the way we are. The rape and child that was put up for adoption no doubt affected Cassie, I think what affected hermore though was the way her mother... - pennyp
How important is Judy's father in her life?
Kirk was and will continue to be THE most important adult figure in Judy's life, the principle adult influencing her development. He modeled being a productive/contributing member of society through his education and career. In a more personal way he... - Denise B-K
"Emmons has a keen grasp of the difficulties of mother-daughter dynamics, and the specific struggles of young parents who are still figuring themselves out. She also paints the shifting turmoil of mid-60s to early-80s America with complexity, creating a vivid, expansive background for an intimate story." - Publishers Weekly
"Emmons has mastered the voice of the adolescent girl. Readers will be able to see the growth of the characters as their story spans a decade." - Romantic Times
"Teens who appreciated Lauren Myracles Bliss or autobiographies by Augusten Burroughs and Jeannette Walls of dysfunctional family survivors should also enjoy this novel." - School Library Journal
"I probably read this far too quickly for review purposes, but I couldn't put it down.... Overall: good story, great characters (Judy's father is every bit as well-drawn as Cassie), compelling narration, complex relationships." - KWEP Blogspot
"Told by the perspective of the young Sweet Judy, fans will see the impact of parents failing to parent and eventually abandoning their child. Judy, Kirk and Cassie are fully developed so the reader understands what motivates each thought he parents are filtered by their child. The support cast is solid as they enhance the childs feelings of not belonging when they try to help her fit in. The ending fails to provide closure, which is disconcerting, yet seems apropos for this intriguing relationship drama." - GenreGoRoundReviews
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Sherri Wood Emmons is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Prayers and Lies and The Sometimes Daughter. She is a graduate of Earlham College and the University of Denver Publishing Institute. A mother of three, she lives in Indiana with her husband, two fat beagles, and four spoiled cats.
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