The Mama Stories was my first short story collection, and I have the students in my Freshman Creative Writing Class during my one semester at Cuyahoga Community College to thank for it. I had been tired of receiving papers on subjects my students knew nothing about, which yielded wild flights of fancy and invented romances.  So I assigned a topic I was certain they knew a great deal about--their mothers. But the stories they handed in were not much better. Everyone's mother, it seemed, was not a real mother, but a mother gleaned from Hallmark cards and slogans hung on kitchen walls. "Please write about your real mother," I pleaded, not the one you wish you had or the one who can be described without saying a word about what she does on a real day in the real world." I reassigned the paper, limiting its time frame to one day. "You think it's so easy," they accused me. "Let's see you write a story about your mother." So I did--the first story that appears in The Mama Stories--and I will always be grateful to those students both for shaming me into writing a story and for liking the story I wrote.

Now, of course, I am asked if the stories are autobiographical. "All stories are autobiographical," I answer, "since they all are autobiographies of the author's mind." Sophie, the fictional mama in The Mama Stories is a little bit of the real mama, and Letitia, the fictional narrator, is a little bit of the real me.

The stories are linked: They are all events in Mama's life as perceived and retold by her nine-year-old daughter, who does not live with her, yet is charmed and overawed by her beautiful, ingenious mother. The stories take place in post WWII, working class, immigrant America.  

"The charming Mama Stories time-trip back to mid-century and the world of a prepubescent Jewish girl observing her resilient mother as she grapples with money and marriage woes, demeaning jobs and libidinous bosses. The child's voice is authentically naive, yet a subtle and moving vehicle for her discerning author."

Read an excerpt

Back-cover page and where to buy: THE MAMA STORIES