Mothers and daughters

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"Life is short, so make time for your loved ones" is the big message in today's selection, Life on the Refrigerator Door: Notes Between a Mother and Daughter (Harper, 220 pages $15.95) by Alice Kuipers.

Life on the Refrigerator Door

The book covers about a year in the lives of teenage Claire and her divorced obstetrician mother. The two never see each other, and apparently do not have cell phones, so they communicate via written notes. Here are a couple examples ...


I ran in and ran out. I'll be back in about twenty minutes.

You are most certainly not pathetic. Having your heart broken is tough. It's difficult when a relationship doesn't work out...

We'll talk when we're both home.



I can't believe you think I'm so selfish! I wanted to go shopping for some new clothes. It doesn't mean I haven't remembered that you've got things going on like WORK and your DOCTORS' APPOINTMENTS. you're being TOTALLY unfair.


As you may have guessed, Claire's mom has cancer — breast cancer to be exact — which brings them closer together and all that, yet still, they write the notes. Of course family members leave notes for each other, but I can't get past the idea that a busy doctor doesn't have a cell phone — especially when she lives alone with a teenager.

This book annoyed me with its nontraditional narrative — it consists solely of these refrigerator notes — but it does have a heartfelt story and message.

My favorite part was a lovely little poem by William Carlos Williams on the page immediately following the dedication page.

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

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This kind of reminds me of an article that I read about how families are now communicating with each other via blog; perhaps the refrigerator door here is a progenitor of that kind of thing. I would not know. In my house the refrigerator door was pretty much empty save for shopping lists, and we communicated by screaming at each other. William Carlos Williams is a favorite of mine, and I was turned on to him by another poet; Norm Lear, who was my poetry professor at Roosevelt University.

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This page contains a single entry by Teresa Budasi published on September 5, 2007 7:46 AM.

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