First Mothers by Bonnie Angelo was a great read! The book covered each mother's influence of President's Franklin Delano Roosevelt to George W. Bush - all modern women of the 20th century. Although the book is 438 pages long, you can read the book one president at a time, about 40 pages long. This made it easy to read a little each night and enjoy the book for a couple of weeks.
The book looks at the "special mother-son relationships that nurtured and helped propel the last twelve American presidents to the pinnacle of power." There were good and bad examples. There were fabulous relationships and others that were quite strained within the context of these president's families.
One of my favorite passages of the book: p. 428 “Self-confidence…is fundamental to achieving success in any career, whatever the choice. Personalities may be unlike, motivations may differ, but the one who makes it to the top, the achiever, first believes in himself." And then a little further: "The boy whose mother made him feel that he was indeed very special usually had his head kept to its hat size by his unimpressed – sometimes resentful – siblings, by a critical father, and by the mother’s own instinctive balance of praise and discipline.” This book displays concretely how family dynamics play into a person's psyche...food for thought.
I kept thinking as I read the book that there were a lot of good things to remember while raising my own son...influences of faith, hard work, hope, vision. It encouraged me to believe, as a mother of a 15-year-old son, that my job wasn't actually finished and that I still could have a profound influence on my son, hopefully, for his success in life.
If you enjoy presidential history, you will love this book. If your mom loves presidential history, I suggest giving her this book for Mother's Day. The book gave me insight into those presidents I did not agree with politically (based upon their life experiences)and gave me a little perspective on the changing roles of motherhood when your son begins seeking a wife of his own. I found this book to be thought-provoking, but upbeat and hopeful at the same time.
Ten Things I Wish I'd Known - Before I Went Out into the Real World by Maria Shriver was a fun read too. The author wrote the 125 page book after giving a similar speech at a college commencement. She wrote about the 10 things she wished someone had said to her when she was about to embark on a career. I found Ms. Shriver to be self-effacing, humorous and humble about her place in the world.
This book has a lot of good common sense and is shared forth-rightly with her own life experiences to support her points. I found the book to be engaging and I found myself often thinking, "Yep, I hope my college-age daughter will realize these truths." Although the book is written by a woman, the lessons are applicable to both genders...the points she makes are universal.
I wasn't sure I was going to admit that I was reading a book by a Kennedy clan member and a friend of Oprah, but I'm also not afraid to admit that everyone in this world has something good to offer...this is a worthy read if you're interested in the subject of life lessons. There are a few words that may offend the most sensitive, but overall, her life lessons are sprinkled with a lot of Biblical truths.