Minnesota Historical Society

Riding Shotgun

$ 17.95

Women Write About Their Mothers

Edited by Kathryn Kysar

Minnesota Historical Society Press (April 1, 2008)

With honesty and extraordinary self-knowledge, twenty-one accomplished authors illuminate the mother-daughter relationship--intimate, complicated, loving, flawed—with humor and clarity.


A group of America’s celebrated literary women have come together to tackle a topic close to their hearts: Mom. These highly personal yet often universal stories offer windows into those influential mother-daughter moments that have forever shaped the lives and perspectives of the writers, powerful women—authors, spokespeople, scholars, teachers, and some mothers themselves.

Jonis Agee’s mother haunts her daughter’s plumbing. Tai Coleman’s mother struggled to raise five children on her own wits and a single pay check. Heid Erdrich’s mother showed her daughter both the falsity and the truth in the cliché of the “Indian Princess.” Sheila O’Connor’s mother, who ran a road construction company, was not like other mothers. Ka Vang’s mother dodged the hand grenades that her husband’s first wife threw on her wedding day. Morgan Grayce Willow’s mother drove home late at night after selling cosmetics to farm wives as her daughter rode shotgun.

In true tales of startling candor and rich insight, these and many other talented writers reflect on the women who raised them, revealing hard work and hardship, successes and failures, love and anger—mothers and daughters.

Contributors: Jonis Agee, Elizabeth Jarret Andrew, Sandra Benitez, Barrie Jean Borich, Taiyon Coleman, Heid Erdrich, Diane Glancy, Jan Zita Grover, Denise Low, Alison McGhee, Sheila O'Connor, Shannon Olson, Carrie Pomeroy, Susan Power, Sun Yung Shin, Faith Sullivan, Ann Ursu, Ka Vang, Wang Ping, Susan Steger Welsh, Morgan Grayce Willow.

Author information

Kathryn Kysar, the author of Dark Lake, teaches writing in Minneapolis. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts.

Reviews and news

“A powerful and fascinating collection of essays that probe the complications and the mysteries of the bonds between mothers and daughters. It is a gathering place of women from all over the world, women who have beautifully articulated the struggles and joys of their mothers and their own journeys from daughter-hood to womanhood.”
Jane Hamilton, author of A Map of the World

“You needn't be a mother or a daughter—only human—to recognize what’s universal in these painful, redemptive, wise, and often sweetly comic essays. This is simply a wonderful collection!”
Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire

Riding Shotgun proves the universal: there is no relationship more complicated than that of mother and daughter. The patterns of love and rebellion have as many variations as there are daughters to tell them, as many opportunities for insight and understanding as there are readers for this book.”
Judith Kitchen, author of Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction


"My DocuMama" by Anne Ursu

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 248 pages
  • 21 b&w photos
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873516143

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