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Now My Heart is Full: A Memoir

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A deeply affecting memoir of motherhood and daughterhood, and how we talk about both, from popular writer Laura June Laura June’s daughter, Zelda, was only a few moments old when she held her for the first time, looked into her eyes, and thought, I wish my mother were here. It wasn’t a thought she was used to having. Laura was in second grade when she realized her mother wa A deeply affecting memoir of motherhood and daughterhood, and how we talk about both, from popular writer Laura June Laura June’s daughter, Zelda, was only a few moments old when she held her for the first time, looked into her eyes, and thought, I wish my mother were here. It wasn’t a thought she was used to having. Laura was in second grade when she realized her mother was an alcoholic. As the years went by, she spiraled deeper, becoming borderline abusive, and by the time of her death a few years before Zelda’s birth, the two had drifted apart entirely. In Now My Heart Is Full, Laura June explores how raising her daughter forced her to come to terms with her own mother’s tragic legacy and recognize the connective tissue that binds together the three generations of women. She also confronts the complicated place that women’s drinking often occupies and interrogates the culture of drinking that surrounds our ideas of motherhood, reflecting on her own decision not to drink. In beautiful and irreverent prose, she describes how coming to grips with the fact that Zelda would never know her grandmother, while trying to be the best mother she could be, forced her to reevaluate her own mother, who tried her best to raise her children while struggling with addiction. By confronting the day-to-day frustrations of new motherhood she exposes how, even a generation later, we still do not have the language to fully discuss the change that a woman undergoes when she becomes a parent. And only by experiencing the pain and joy of it herself is she able to make peace with her mother’s memory at last and find that, to her surprise, the two have more in common than she ever knew.


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A deeply affecting memoir of motherhood and daughterhood, and how we talk about both, from popular writer Laura June Laura June’s daughter, Zelda, was only a few moments old when she held her for the first time, looked into her eyes, and thought, I wish my mother were here. It wasn’t a thought she was used to having. Laura was in second grade when she realized her mother wa A deeply affecting memoir of motherhood and daughterhood, and how we talk about both, from popular writer Laura June Laura June’s daughter, Zelda, was only a few moments old when she held her for the first time, looked into her eyes, and thought, I wish my mother were here. It wasn’t a thought she was used to having. Laura was in second grade when she realized her mother was an alcoholic. As the years went by, she spiraled deeper, becoming borderline abusive, and by the time of her death a few years before Zelda’s birth, the two had drifted apart entirely. In Now My Heart Is Full, Laura June explores how raising her daughter forced her to come to terms with her own mother’s tragic legacy and recognize the connective tissue that binds together the three generations of women. She also confronts the complicated place that women’s drinking often occupies and interrogates the culture of drinking that surrounds our ideas of motherhood, reflecting on her own decision not to drink. In beautiful and irreverent prose, she describes how coming to grips with the fact that Zelda would never know her grandmother, while trying to be the best mother she could be, forced her to reevaluate her own mother, who tried her best to raise her children while struggling with addiction. By confronting the day-to-day frustrations of new motherhood she exposes how, even a generation later, we still do not have the language to fully discuss the change that a woman undergoes when she becomes a parent. And only by experiencing the pain and joy of it herself is she able to make peace with her mother’s memory at last and find that, to her surprise, the two have more in common than she ever knew.

30 review for Now My Heart is Full: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roxane

    Sometimes, a book swells into something far lovelier than you assume it will be. Laura June’s warm and moving Now My Heart is Full is one such unforgettable book. What seems like a straightforward memoir about motherhood slowly, carefully, becomes so much more. This, is the story of how the daughter of an alcoholic mother becomes a motherless mother and reconciles the ways she was loved, the ways she was hurt and how the birth of her own daughter allowed her heart to finally grow full. There is Sometimes, a book swells into something far lovelier than you assume it will be. Laura June’s warm and moving Now My Heart is Full is one such unforgettable book. What seems like a straightforward memoir about motherhood slowly, carefully, becomes so much more. This, is the story of how the daughter of an alcoholic mother becomes a motherless mother and reconciles the ways she was loved, the ways she was hurt and how the birth of her own daughter allowed her heart to finally grow full. There is no maudlin sentimentality here. Instead, Laura June writes with wit and melancholy, unabashed joy and tenderness. Imagine my surprise, when I reached the end, and found myself in tears.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura June

    Riddled with flaws but look I did my best.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    For someone who claims to not enjoy books about motherhood and alcoholism, I currently have bookmarks in several books about alcoholism, alcoholic mothers, and this book, about motherhood and an alcoholic mother. I almost want to give this three stars because even though it crumbled to pieces for me by the end, that may just be because I struggled to connect with June's writing. This book has Sex Object syndrome, where a lot of vignettes are presented in a non-linear fashion that I found distrac For someone who claims to not enjoy books about motherhood and alcoholism, I currently have bookmarks in several books about alcoholism, alcoholic mothers, and this book, about motherhood and an alcoholic mother. I almost want to give this three stars because even though it crumbled to pieces for me by the end, that may just be because I struggled to connect with June's writing. This book has Sex Object syndrome, where a lot of vignettes are presented in a non-linear fashion that I found distracting, and while her marriage is certainly none of my affair, this passage: "But the connection that I felt to him was not something that ever flagged, and every time he told me I should move out, that he hated me, and later, that we should get divorced, I dug in my heels and stared at him, waiting it out," soured me on everything about her husband for the last half of the book, but I did love all that she wrote about her daughter. Books about motherhood make me sad about all of the things I didn't do for my kid when he was a baby and books about alcoholic mothers make me happy that he's growing up with sober parents. I should just let those feelings resonate inside myself and stop picking up memoirs on these topics, no matter how glowingly Bitch magazine talks about them.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Snow

    This book took me off-guard. I thought I was the only one who grew up with these experiences. I thought my family was so unique. To hear a life almost just like mine laid out in a book was very shocking. Such a wonderfully told story that reveals so many truths that I'm not sure others will understand. So very thankful to have stumbled across this book and glad that it was written.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Liked but wanted to love. I was frustrated by the lack of structure/organization, and I found a few grammatical errors which compounded that frustration (sorry to nit pick!). Still found the new mom parts instructive...

  6. 4 out of 5

    kc

    The section that deals most directly with June's mother's alcoholism rang true for me and felt alive and necessary. However, the bulk of the book that deals with pregnancy and early motherhood felt a bit too familiar--in the worst, entitled, aggrieved Brooklyn parenting sense. I take issue with her writing authoritatively about motherhood when he daughter is only 3, for starters. I wish the backstory of her mother's life centered the book more.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Clio

    This is hands-down the most relatable book about the transition to new motherhood I have ever read. This book is like having an open, honest conversation with someone who isn't trying to scare you or offend you about your birth choices or parenting choices but just telling it like it is. It's funny and relatable that Laura June bought all her favorite childhood books for her future daughter while she was pregnant, even if it would be awhile before they were all age-appropriate. I did that too. I This is hands-down the most relatable book about the transition to new motherhood I have ever read. This book is like having an open, honest conversation with someone who isn't trying to scare you or offend you about your birth choices or parenting choices but just telling it like it is. It's funny and relatable that Laura June bought all her favorite childhood books for her future daughter while she was pregnant, even if it would be awhile before they were all age-appropriate. I did that too. I guess we just want to share what we love most with the people we love lost, especially when we feel responsible for teaching those people about the world. ("I can show you the worldddd" *dances down an aisle of bookshelves in the library*) This book has so many great descriptions of what it feels like to try to become a good mother after living in your own head for a long time. It's hard to conceptualize the loss of "me-time" before it happens to you, but I think this book does a great job of talking about it. It also accurately describes the worries and silly moments and discovering occasional boredom as a virtue! I have never lived with or really had to deal with somebody with alcohol issues but that is also a huge part of this book - how Laura June's new motherhood helped evolve her relationship with the mother she lost to alcoholism. Being a mother definitely opens up new ways to see your own mother and it was really interesting to read about Laura June's unique perspective. I think all moms should read this. Also people who love their moms. And also people who have complicated relationships with their moms.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Coles

    NOW MY HEART IS FULL, a memoir by Laura June, is about the author’s experience as a new mother and how, at every turn, her approach to motherhood has been influenced by her relationship with her own late mother. June’s mother was a long-time alcoholic who died quite suddenly of liver disease in her 50s. They had a fraught relationship, one that was close to non-existent at times, but the birth of her daughter Zelda offered June an opportunity to reflect and reevaluate. Lovely prose here and, whi NOW MY HEART IS FULL, a memoir by Laura June, is about the author’s experience as a new mother and how, at every turn, her approach to motherhood has been influenced by her relationship with her own late mother. June’s mother was a long-time alcoholic who died quite suddenly of liver disease in her 50s. They had a fraught relationship, one that was close to non-existent at times, but the birth of her daughter Zelda offered June an opportunity to reflect and reevaluate. Lovely prose here and, while the premise sounds like a bit of a downer, it really isn’t! It’s melancholy, yes, but also...peaceful? Some readers might find it tedious to read about the minutiae of baby-rearing (there is a lot of discussion re sleep training, for example) but overall this was a compelling story in all of its simplicity. https://www.instagram.com/p/BlF4aZwH_...

  9. 5 out of 5

    K2 -----

    Although I feel this book was a tad uneven and needed a better editor it was a well-written and candid look at one woman's relationships with her mother's flaws as she begins her own life as a mother in her mid-thirties. This is a frank look at the challenges of adjusting to being a mother in the modern world, even one who has more options for hiring help, it is a sea change. It is perhaps a cautionary tale to those later in life who think that they have the energy to keep up with a child's dema Although I feel this book was a tad uneven and needed a better editor it was a well-written and candid look at one woman's relationships with her mother's flaws as she begins her own life as a mother in her mid-thirties. This is a frank look at the challenges of adjusting to being a mother in the modern world, even one who has more options for hiring help, it is a sea change. It is perhaps a cautionary tale to those later in life who think that they have the energy to keep up with a child's demands and the ability to put their own life routines behind those of their child. The book is a great service to new mothers who have emotions they may feel are theirs only but are common as they readjust to their own needs coming last. Laura June is smart and sassy. I would guess she has had plenty of professional help to process her adverse childhood experienced. I'd love to meet her if she would kick the cancer sticks. Her voice is fresh and holds the reader's attention, you will not want to put it down. I look forward to reading more of her writing in the future and will look into her articles.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Rounding up. This memoir reflects on new motherhood through the lens of a woman whose mother was an alcoholic. As a fellow mother of a young daughter (her daughter was born in '14), I'd be interested in the sequel. Maybe a book, maybe essays--the parent/child relationship changes so much over time, and I'm sure the author would have much to say as her daughter becomes a teenager, young adult, perhaps becomes a mother herself. I often find myself reading memoirs and wishing the person had waited Rounding up. This memoir reflects on new motherhood through the lens of a woman whose mother was an alcoholic. As a fellow mother of a young daughter (her daughter was born in '14), I'd be interested in the sequel. Maybe a book, maybe essays--the parent/child relationship changes so much over time, and I'm sure the author would have much to say as her daughter becomes a teenager, young adult, perhaps becomes a mother herself. I often find myself reading memoirs and wishing the person had waited another 10-20 years to write it. But this has a lot going on, even though the author is quite young. Although my relationship with my mother was quite different, I was sorry to relate to losing a mother, and the feeling of getting a phone call and traveling home with the knowledge, planning a funeral, etc.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liz

  12. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Lazarin

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

  14. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

  16. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dani Brecher

  19. 4 out of 5

    Afra

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lizelle Galaz

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Foster

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Erickson

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Strodel

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fakharabbas

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Terry

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nitzi

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tracee Marie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Hager

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