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Reviewed by Alice H. for Readers' Favorite
"Surviving Mama" by Pamela Thompson is a fun read for those coming from dysfunctional families. The author contends that many families, especially those of African-American decent, have highly dysfunctional mothers in charge of a family which is generally fatherless. Due to cultural traditions and current socioeconomic pressures, the African-American mother either undervalues or overvalues her daughter, creating a condition in which the grown-up daughter will either rebel or find herself in a dysfunctional quagmire which becomes self-defeating.
As the author states, the book is not intended to "bash" mothers. Rather it takes a historical look at conditions that occurred in which African-American mothers did what they did in order to survive and to hold together a fragile family. I found it interesting that the author attributed the mother-daughter dysfunction almost entirely to the characteristics of the mother and left it to the daughters to "correct" the relationship variables (if indeed, they could be corrected).
The book is well-written and has a strong connection to Christian theology. At times, the examples appear to be a stretch but nevertheless, there is a strong element of acceptance and love in the messages of healing and letting go of anger and disappointment. The Eight Do's at the end of the book are extremely helpful to those mothers and daughters who truly want to heal a dysfunctional relationship. The reader gets the positive message that most mothers do the best they can and at some point in time, the daughter must simply grow up and accept responsibility for the present.