Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces

Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces

Discovered by Michael Ondaatje, Davies’ dazzling literary memoir has shades of Mary Karr, Anne Lamott, and Jenny Lawson.Some women are born mothers, some achieve motherhood, others have motherhood thrust upon them. Dawn Davies is in the third category. A six-foot-tall divorcee, she isn’t chatty, couldn’t care less about anyone’s potty training progress, doesn’t care to sha...

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Title:Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces
Author:Dawn Davies
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces Reviews

  • Lynne

    This is the first book I have read that both wrenches your gut with heartbreak and makes you laugh out loud at the humor at the same time. Dawn Davies reveals her life in graphic detail, all her most intimate thoughts on childbirth, divorce, raising a blended family and a life full of pets. She writes her memoir in loosely connected chapters from various points in her life. Some are hilarious accounts of everyday life events interspersed with tragic and painful events which are unique to Ms. Dav

    This is the first book I have read that both wrenches your gut with heartbreak and makes you laugh out loud at the humor at the same time. Dawn Davies reveals her life in graphic detail, all her most intimate thoughts on childbirth, divorce, raising a blended family and a life full of pets. She writes her memoir in loosely connected chapters from various points in her life. Some are hilarious accounts of everyday life events interspersed with tragic and painful events which are unique to Ms. Davies. Just when you think this has been an extraordinarily well-written and entertaining memoir of life’s ups and downs, she charges forward with an all revealing ending which brings your heart to a standstill. Davies says she listened to the song “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid” during her writing. She claims these words to be a warning for the memoirist. However, she left very little unsaid in her story. She is brazenly honest about the most brutal aspects of her life. I highly recommend this book but be forewarned that it will not “let you go” after reading it.

  • Jessica

    All my reviews can be found at:

    ~~~~

    **Please note that this is not a review of the whole memoir, just the sample that Flatiron Books released.**

    Flatiron Books advertised on their Facebook page about the Mothers of Sparta sampler: A Piece of Pie just in time for Thanksgiving. This sampler of Dawn Davies’ upcoming memoir was published on November 21st and is 18 pages long. This is the perfect time for this sampler to be release as it deals with a new mother dealing wi

    All my reviews can be found at:

    ~~~~

    **Please note that this is not a review of the whole memoir, just the sample that Flatiron Books released.**

    Flatiron Books advertised on their Facebook page about the Mothers of Sparta sampler: A Piece of Pie just in time for Thanksgiving. This sampler of Dawn Davies’ upcoming memoir was published on November 21st and is 18 pages long. This is the perfect time for this sampler to be release as it deals with a new mother dealing with her infant’s first Thanksgiving and the chaos that ensues. All she wants to do is bake a pie!

    Davies perfectly captured her experience and the story gives people who are not parents an idea of the craziness that new moms go through. I’m sure the parents that read this will laugh and understand where Davies comes from. Flatiron Books accomplished their intention of offering this sample for free: I want to read the rest of this memoir!

  • Carin

    I do love a memoir, so even though this is a memoir in a series of essays instead of a straight narrative, I was excited. Even though it was about motherhood, I was still really looking forward to it. And I liked the first few essays a lot. Ms. Davies is not a typical soccer mom and she doesn't make any excuses for that. The story about all the household pets that kept dying was hilarious (yes, also sad. But also funny.) And the story about when she was 20-ish and an accident happened right in f

    I do love a memoir, so even though this is a memoir in a series of essays instead of a straight narrative, I was excited. Even though it was about motherhood, I was still really looking forward to it. And I liked the first few essays a lot. Ms. Davies is not a typical soccer mom and she doesn't make any excuses for that. The story about all the household pets that kept dying was hilarious (yes, also sad. But also funny.) And the story about when she was 20-ish and an accident happened right in front of her, and she helped a man as he lay dying, was riveting. But then there were a couple of lightweight essays, including one about being a soccer mom. From a woman who supposedly wasn't a soccer mom at all! I started to get annoyed, and then the essay "Mothers of Sparta" followed, and it is harrowing.

    It turns out that Dawn's son, who isn't mentioned but in passing in the book up to this point (mostly her daughters are talked about), has severe problems. He was born with a cleft palate, he has health issues, and also mental health issues. As he grows up, they only get to be bigger problems. In the media, we only ever see little kids with problems, or old people who have been institutionalized. There is an enormous population of people dealing with people who are physically bigger than them, who can't be locked down, who their families don't want to institutionalize (if there even were institutions that would keep them safe and well cared for which is dubious). What do you do when you have a very large 20-something who does not understand that kiddie porn is a problem? Who is very good with computers and can get around any parental controls and even the removal of electronic devices? Not only could he be arrested, but so could you. And what if he were to try to act on these feelings he doesn't understand, and doesn't understand are wrong?

    Personally, I wish that essay had been the entire book. I wish it had been expanded and extrapolated on, and not relegated to being similar in weight to a story about pets or soccer. I do get that having it right after the fluffy soccer essay made the impact greater, but that just wasn't necessary—it has a huge impact by itself. I can see the author's point that she is so much more than her biggest problem, and her family is more than their biggest problem, and her life has both been centered around trying to keep her son safe (and keep the world safe from her son) but also it's been centered around not being centered around that. She doesn't want her son's problems to be the sole focus of her life and her daughters' lives, understandably. And yet. And yet.

    In Sparta, when a baby is born, the local priests would come and inspect it. If the baby wasn't perfect, it would be cast into a pit to die. Was that the cruelest thing in the world, or perhaps a brutal kindness? Dawn knows her son would have been relegated to the pit. And she would have fought viciously for him to survive. And yet, to what end? The ethical and moral questions she brings up are almost never discussed, certainly not this honestly by someone in the midst of them, and they really do need to be discussed. As more health issues are diagnosed and more mental health issues come into the open, we need to look them in the face and really deal with them, not sweep them under the rug so long as they are someone else's problem. This essay is a vital and oh so necessary one that everyone should read. It's raw and inspiring and honest to the core. The book overall is quite good, but just wait until you get to this essay that makes everything worthwhile.

  • Kathy

    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Three and a half stars.

    The book jacket for Dawn Davies' essays led me to believe this would be a series of essays about an angst-filled and reluctant mother, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a set of eclectic personal essays that range in topics and tone. The essays are not necessarily sequential and the end result is a kaleidoscopic view of Davies' life - she honestly reveals both heart-breaking and humorous stories of

    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Three and a half stars.

    The book jacket for Dawn Davies' essays led me to believe this would be a series of essays about an angst-filled and reluctant mother, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a set of eclectic personal essays that range in topics and tone. The essays are not necessarily sequential and the end result is a kaleidoscopic view of Davies' life - she honestly reveals both heart-breaking and humorous stories of her life without all of the connective tissue that can sometimes bog down a typical memoir. The essays that resonate the most are those at the beginning and end of the collection where she honestly explores loss, death, illness and parenting in trying circumstances. Many of the essays do explore parenting but I would not describe this as a book about motherhood, nor does Davies ever appear as the reluctant mother the book jacket implies; rather she is devoted and often easy to relate to. The essays in the middle of the collection are often funny but some felt like "filler" essays of the type you might read in a women's magazine. However, the biggest detractor to the book was Davies' habit of slipping into 2nd person perspective when relating personal stories, sometimes for whole essays and sometimes for short passages. Still, Davies' heart and talent shine throughout and this is a lovely collection.

  • Amy Morgan

    Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. Mothers of Sparta was an engaging and entertaining read.

    Dawn Davies tells the story of her life from her childhood that was not made easy as she moved towns every couple of years and never seemed to quite fit in - whether it was with the kids in each new town or the other people she meets as she progresses into motherhood.

    We see the moments of Dawn's life through the stories in this book that tealky shaped her life. From her sense of instabili

    Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. Mothers of Sparta was an engaging and entertaining read.

    Dawn Davies tells the story of her life from her childhood that was not made easy as she moved towns every couple of years and never seemed to quite fit in - whether it was with the kids in each new town or the other people she meets as she progresses into motherhood.

    We see the moments of Dawn's life through the stories in this book that tealky shaped her life. From her sense of instability in her childhood to holding the hand of a dying stranger to difficult pregnancies and a marriage doomed from the start to finding out her youngest son is severely troubled to a chance st starting over and finding a way out of the darkness and back into the light.

    Davie's struggles are something many can relate to and she tells her stories in a strong and often humorous voice.

  • Selena

    I received a free ARC copy of Mothers of Sparta by Dawn Davies from Goodreads for my honest review. Mothers of Sparta is a collection of sad and funny personal essays that define Dawn Davies' life. This is a very different book and although I did find it very sad, it is brilliantly written.

  • Ruth Woodman York

    I received an advance copy of this book through a giveaway on Goodreads. The book seemed slow to start, and disjointed, as the timeline was not linear. I think I would have enjoyed it better if the timeline hadn't jumped around so. Also, one chapter, I only read half, then skipped the rest, as I honestly did not need to know what famous people the author would have gladly had sex with. It didn't seem to even be a part of the rest of her story. The last half of the book was better, but the writin

    I received an advance copy of this book through a giveaway on Goodreads. The book seemed slow to start, and disjointed, as the timeline was not linear. I think I would have enjoyed it better if the timeline hadn't jumped around so. Also, one chapter, I only read half, then skipped the rest, as I honestly did not need to know what famous people the author would have gladly had sex with. It didn't seem to even be a part of the rest of her story. The last half of the book was better, but the writing style still left me a bit lacking.

  • Cheryl

    This is a light read. I breezed through this book in almost one sitting. Although, I will tell you that there were a few moments that were few and far between that I really liked reading about and can remember. Otherwise, the majority of the book was "fine". Not that I am taking anything away from the author and her story but when I am reading a memoir, I want to connect on a personal and emotional level. I really did not experience this while reading this book. Which was sad as I did think that

    This is a light read. I breezed through this book in almost one sitting. Although, I will tell you that there were a few moments that were few and far between that I really liked reading about and can remember. Otherwise, the majority of the book was "fine". Not that I am taking anything away from the author and her story but when I am reading a memoir, I want to connect on a personal and emotional level. I really did not experience this while reading this book. Which was sad as I did think that Ms. Davies was getting there. The humorist moments where gems. Overall, this book did not do it for me but it might for someone else.

  • Laura Schrillo

    I have read the other reviews of this book and I guess I am the exception. I hated this from the first sentence but I tried to read on. The first sentence by the way is this gem, "It is a moonless night, dark and rare, and the heat is oppressive, the kind of heat where a deep breath leaves you unsatisfied, suspicious that there was nothing life-giving at all in what you've inhaled, and you are left air-hungry, wet at the pits, forehead greasy with sweat, wishing for the night to be over, for you

    I have read the other reviews of this book and I guess I am the exception. I hated this from the first sentence but I tried to read on. The first sentence by the way is this gem, "It is a moonless night, dark and rare, and the heat is oppressive, the kind of heat where a deep breath leaves you unsatisfied, suspicious that there was nothing life-giving at all in what you've inhaled, and you are left air-hungry, wet at the pits, forehead greasy with sweat, wishing for the night to be over, for your daughters to exhaust their energy, to cool their dense, hot centers enough to sleep for one more night in this summer that seems to stretch into your future like a planetary ring full of debris, circling forever around something it can't escape.".

    Yes that is one sentence. It goes on like that for another 260 pages. I tried but I gave up by page 119. I cannot figure out how this book got by an editor.

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