Everything My Mother Taught Me
by Alice Hoffman
In this haunting short story of loyalty and betrayal, a young woman in early 1900s Massachusetts discovers that in navigating her treacherous coming-of-age, she must find her voice first.
For fatefully observant Adeline, growing up carries an ominous warning from her adulterous mother: don’t say a word. Adeline vows to never speak again. But that’s not her only secret. After her mother takes a housekeeping job at a lighthouse off the tip of Cape Ann, a local woman vanishes. The key to the mystery lies with Adeline, the silent witness. New York Times bestselling author of The Rules of Magic Alice Hoffman crafts a beautiful, heart-wrenching short story.
Alice Hoffman’s Everything My Mother Taught Me is part of Inheritance, a collection of five stories about secrets, unspoken desires, and dangerous revelations between loved ones. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single setting. By yourself, behind closed doors, or shared with someone you trust.
“Everything My Mother Taught Me” is a very quick read with only 28 pages. It’s a poignant short story published as part of the Inheritance series by Amazon Originals. These stories are perfect for me, as they can be read and enjoyed in the smallest snippet of spare time.
“There are those who insist that mothers are born with love for their children and place them before all other things, including their own needs and desires. This was not the case with us.”
Adeline Ivie is 12 years old and a strong young girl at the mercy of her neglectful mother Nora. When her beloved father died, Adeline decided to stop speaking, deliberately becoming mute and admitting that she didn’t know if she could speak if she tried. In her eyes, her life was over and she feared that things were going to get much worse as her mother had just taken a new job which meant upping sticks and moving to a new place.
I don’t want to say much more about the plot, as the story is very short and it’ll just ruin it for you. I will say that this is a compelling read about a mother-daughter relationship and I’m impressed at how this story well was told in so few pages.
Overall rating: “Everything My Mother Taught Me” is an impressive little story with a strong leading character. For such a quick read, this story packs a punch and I’d recommend giving it a try, it’s only short after all!