Parenting is all-consuming. Mothers, particularly, often find themselves so caught up in caring for their children, tending to their needs, entertaining and educating them, that they might easily lose sight of their own needs and interests. Then, when their children grow up and move away from home, there is suddenly a giant void that mothers are not quite sure how to fill. The Goodbye Quilt, by Susan Wiggs, explores one mother’s final goodbye to her college-bound daughter and her confusion over what to do with herself now that her role as mother is changing forever.
As Linda accompanies her daughter Molly on a cross-country road trip to Molly’s new college, Linda works on a quilt she hopes to finish in time to give to her daughter as a goodbye gift. The quilt is adorned with mementos of a love-filled family life, and as Linda works on it she reminisces about her life as a mother.
Linda and Molly spend their days on the road remembering moments represented in the quilt and re-acquainting as adults. At the same time, Linda struggles to let go, to trust that she has raised her daughter well, and to allow Molly to make her own choices. However, as the hours and days stretch on, Linda comes to realize that Molly is perhaps more capable than she realized, and that she needs to let her daughter pursue her own dreams without interference. Furthermore, she also comes to terms with the fact that when she returns home, she and her husband will have an empty nest. The quilt ties together the past, present and future as Linda begins to embrace her new relationship with Molly and to realize how she would like her own life to move forward.
The Goodbye Quilt is a touching story, yet also lacks a certain amount of depth. As a mother of young children, I will admit I found myself tearing up more than once as I related to the main character and thought of my own babies going off to college. And yet, somehow, the story of Linda and her daughter felt a bit hollow. I did enjoy the book, and would recommend it as a quick and easy beach read, but don’t expect anything earth shattering.
Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.
Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Planned Television Arts. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.