‘MY MOTHER wants nothing more than for me to be happy — and it’s ruining my life.” So writes Lauren Greenberg in her contribution to The Jewish Daughter Diaries, Rachel Ament’s collection of 28 tales of woe, misfortune and hilarity (Sourcebooks, £9.99)
In Jewish families, “mothering” is a synonym for “smothering”. And mothers are better at smothering than are the fathers — a peculiar breed seemingly addicted to salt-beef sandwiches and Match of The Day.
ThereisanunwrittencodethatallJewish children must provide their parents with naches, and, in return for meeting that nice Jewish boy (or girl), graduating, or getting that first job, the poor daughters (and sons) are embarrassed by their parents until they die.
“Love suffuses a Jewish mom’s every thought, her every behaviour,” writes Ament. Her collection features female voices in comedy, media and pop culture, including The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik and stand-up comic Iliza Shlesinger. Some contributors cringe, some indulge in schaudenfreude. All compete for the honour of having the craziest Jewish Mother of all.
You can read of the JM impersonating her daughter on Jdate, the one who makes half her daughter’s bed while she’s still asleep, or the one who wants her poor daughter to keep her ashes in her underwear drawer so she can always be with her.
Stories of fridges fit to burst with gefilte fish, unbelievable acts of chutzpah, and bars set unreasonably high, strike an all-too-familiar chord with us over-loved, over-protected Jewish girls.
But the overwhelming connection between mothers and daughters to emerge from the book is overwhelming love. What else could I do but love it?