Book Review: Becoming Flame (Mother's Day gift!)

Mother's Day became an American national holiday in 1914, but most would agree that mothers deserved praise and celebration long before that.

Isabel Anders' prize-winning book Becoming Flame: Uncommon Mother-Daughter Wisdom is, above all, a celebration of women and the vast stores of wisdom they have imparted to their children throughout the ages. Written in a dialogical form, Anders' book gives voice to a universal mother and her universal daughter in daily conversation. These conversations range from musings about love to comments about empty pantry shelves. Through such relatable accounts, readers hear both their own mothers and their selves in the pages, and they find value in the words that they might have missed before.

The daughter asked, "How does one find the Truth amid the myriad choices of every day's confusion?"

"See the ball of tangled threads at my feet?" asked the mother. "Many colors are bound together into a knot of complexity. But take the end of any one string, and follow it to its beginning, and you will by your effort reach the Center."

Anders believes that this type of wisdom is natural and powerful, but that it's also overshadowed by those who do not recognize these traits in women. "It is my premise," Anders says in her forward. "that the overarching value of woman's work in the world, and the slower process through which she gains experience, sifts and filters it through her natural stages of development, and eventually finds a confident voice, is vastly underrated--and often completely ignored within larger circles of power and influence." That is what she hopes to change with this book. By taking inspiration from daily tasks, from other women mystics, and from experiences she has had with her own children, Anders hopes to provide a guide by which women can reexamine their own inherent understandings and their ability to apply them to their lives.

If you're not already, think of your own mother. What do you hear her saying to you? What bits of wisdom did she place in your basket? If you are looking for a way this Mother's Day to show your mother that you heard her all those years ago and recognize the gifts she was giving you, find a copy of this little fifty-nine page book. Give it to her. Better yet, read it out loud, together, and hear your own voices speaking over these truths. You might be surprised at how much wisdom she gave and you received as you were simply cleaning vegetables.


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