Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Mother Daughter Show Guest Post by Natalie Wexler

Today I am excited to provide a guest post by Natalie Wexler author of The Mother Daughter Show as part of the Tribute Books Blog Tour. Natalie is here to talk about a subject that is near and dear to my heart. "Connecting with your teen through books and music."  Enjoy Natalie's post and look for information regarding her and The Mother Daughter Show novel below.

I suspect that most mothers of teenage daughters—like the three main characters in my novel, The Mother Daughter Show—yearn to connect with their offspring. While a few lucky mothers may be able to do this effortlessly, many of us find it challenging.

And with good reason: a lot of teenagers would rather swallow hot oil than “connect” with a parent. Sure, they love their parents. They may even respect their parents. But hang out with their parents? Pour out their hearts to their parents? Please.

Sometimes, if you want to reach your teenager’s heart, it’s best to take an indirect route. While I’ve come to realize that my daughter is different from me in a number of ways (even though I still feel she really should be my clone!), we do have similar tastes in literature. Starting when she was in her early teenage years, she began to ask me for book recommendations. And over the years, she’s pretty much come to rely on me for guidance about what to read.

Granted, there are times when I’m less than thrilled about this situation—like when she announces, five minutes before she’s leaving on a trip, that she needs three really good books to take with her NOW. And every once in a while, inevitably, some book I’ve loved fails to resonate with her. But when we both have the same strong positive reaction to a book, it’s a terrific feeling—proof that despite the fact that I don’t always know as much as I’d like to about what’s going on inside her head, deep down we really are connected.

I’ve been less successful at connecting with my kids through music. Most of what my kids listen to leaves me cold (that is, when I can even tell what they’re listening to—earbuds work great when it comes to keeping one’s musical tastes private). When I was working on the real Mother Daughter Show at my daughter’s school, I tried to listen to current pop music on the radio, as other mothers recommended. The idea was that we would write new, funny lyrics to songs our daughters were familiar with. I found I couldn't do it and ended up—like my character Amanda—writing lyrics to songs I knew and loved, songs written by people like Gershwin and the Beatles.

But then I realized that, in fact, that music did connect me to my daughter. When she was little, I sang Gershwin songs to her before she fell asleep. By the time she was three, she knew “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Our Love Is Here to Stay” by heart. And she went through a Beatles phase that resulted in her knowing even more about the Beatles, and their repertoire, than I did.

So you don’t always have to invade your kids’ turf to make a connection. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they’ll come over to your side. The important thing is to find some common ground—something you both genuinely love. ~ Natalie

The Mother Daughter Show
by Natalie Wexler
Publisher: Fuze
Publication date: December 1, 2011
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon

At Barton Friends a D.C. prep school so elite its parent body includes the President and First Lady - three mothers have thrown themselves into organizing the annual musical revue. Will its Machiavellian intrigue somehow enable them to reconnect with their graduating daughters, who are fast spinning out of control? By turns hilarious and poignant, The Mother Daughter Show will appeal to anyone who's ever had a daughter - and anyone who's ever been one.

Natalie Wexler is the author of The Mother Daughter Show (Fuze Publishing 2011) and an award-winning historical novel, A More Obedient Wife. She is a journalist and essayist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post Magazine, the American Scholar, the Gettysburg Review, and other publications, and she is a reviewer for the Washington Independent Review of Books. She has also worked as a temporary secretary, a newspaper reporter, a Supreme Court law clerk, a legal historian, and (briefly) an actual lawyer. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband.

Natalie Wexler

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At July 10, 2012 at 11:06 AM , Blogger Natalie Wexler said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Kimba!

At July 10, 2012 at 2:35 PM , Blogger Blodeuedd said...

Drama in a good way :)

At July 10, 2012 at 3:57 PM , Blogger Tribute Books said...

Kimba, thanks for featuring Natalie today. I hope you're enjoying your cruise!

At July 10, 2012 at 7:11 PM , Anonymous Christy @ Love of Books said...

Great post! I have a teenage son and luckily we are pretty close, but books, music, and even video games are things we connect with. He doesn't love to read, but I know so well what he likes that it's easy to give him a book he'll be interested in. And I always read the book too because he likes to talk about it as he reads. Starting young is always a great idea, then you already kind of have that connection when they become a teen.


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