A memoir of mothers and daughters—and mothers as daughters—traced through four generations, from Paris to New York and back again. Baker & Taylor
Well past the age when most children stop believing in magic, Nadja Spiegelman believed her mother was a fairy. More than her famous father,Maus creator Art Spiegelman, and even more than most mothers, hers—Paris-bornNew Yorker art director Françoise Mouly—seemed to possess superhuman powers, both dazzling and daunting. As Nadja emerged into an early adolescence and her body “began to whisper to the adults around me in a language I did not understand,” the tensions between them deepened. Unwittingly, they were replaying a drama from her mother’s past, a drama Nadja sensed but had never been told, beyond shadowy disclosures that quickly dead-ended into “I’m supposed to protect you from all that.” It wasn’t until she graduated from college that her mother finally opened up to her about her upbringing, as the daughter of a flamboyant nouveau-riche plastic surgeon and his volatile wife, who too readily made their children pawns in their tempestuous relationship.
It had taken an ocean to allow Françoise enough distance to break free and reinvent herself in New York, which she did with a vengeance. Now, at not much more than the same age, Nadja made the journey in reverse, returning to Paris determined to fill in the blanks and to resolve the contradictions in her mother’s account. But while she learned that where mothers and daughters are concerned, clean beginnings and endings are impossible, she emerged with this dramatic and moving multigenerational narrative and a deeper understanding of why those who love us best sometimes hurt us most.
I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This is a book in which every woman will see herself and her mother, and how they glorify, vilify, distort, misunderstand, and, ultimately, if they are lucky, make their peace with the past and allow each other to become, imperfectly, themselves.
"A memoir of mothers and daughters -- and mothers as daughters -- traced through four generations, from Paris to New York and back again. For a long time, Nadja Spiegelman believed her mother was a fairy. More than her famous father, Mauscreator Art Spiegelman, and even more than most mothers, hers -- French-born New Yorker art director Franðcoise Mouly -- exerted a force over reality that was both dazzling and daunting. As Nadja's body changed and "began to whisper to the adults around me in a languageI did not understand," their relationship grew tense. Unwittingly, they were replaying a drama from her mother's past, a drama Nadja sensed but had never been told. Then, after college, her mother suddenly opened up to her. Franðcoise recounted her turbulent adolescence caught between a volatile mother and a playboy father, one of the first plastic surgeons in France. The weight of the difficult stories she told her daughter shifted the balance between them. It had taken an ocean to allow Franðcoise thedistance to become her own person. At about the same age, Nadja made the journey in reverse, moving to Paris determined to get to know the woman her mother had fled. Her grandmother's memories contradicted her mother's at nearly every turn, but beneath them lay a difficult history of her own. Nadja emerged with a deeper understanding of how each generation reshapes the past in order to forge ahead, their narratives both weapon and defense, eternally in conflict. Every reader will recognize herself and her family in this gorgeous and heartbreaking memoir, which helps us to see why sometimes those who love us best hurt us most"--Baker
The daughter of "Maus" creator Art Spiegelman and "New Yorker" art director Franðcoise Mouly describes her coming-of-age discovery of her mother's complicated childhood, her investigation into four generations of family women, and her own efforts to reinvent herself.
The daughter of Maus creator Art Spiegelman and New Yorker art director Francoise Mouly describes the coming-of-age discovery of her mother's complicated childhood, her investigation into four generations of family women and her own efforts to reinvent herself in New York.
"A memoir of mothers and daughters--and mothers as daughters--traced through four generations, from Paris to New York and back again"--