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The Not Good Enough Mother by Sharon Lamb
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The Not Good Enough Mother by Sharon Lamb
Paperback $16.00
Jul 07, 2020 | ISBN 9780807028414

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  • Jul 07, 2020 | ISBN 9780807028414

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  • Jun 25, 2019 | ISBN 9780807082461

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  • Jun 25, 2019 | ISBN 9780807082478

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“The writing is engaging, and Lamb’s professionalism is evident, but what mostly shines through is her empathy, sympathy, and deep concern for her clients, both children and adults . . . . This honest look at how society judges parents, mothers in particular, deserves a wide audience.”
Booklist, Starred Review

“She maintains an open-hearted compassion toward mothers battling similar addictions. At the same time, she shows just how tough some decisions can be when lives are on the line. In a concise book, Lamb ably demonstrates the challenges and pitfalls of passing judgment in such an imperfect world.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This is the sort of book that begs to be read all at once, in a trance partly fueled by the egotistical longing to see ourselves, our own childhoods and less-than-good-enough mothering, reflected in Lamb’s analysis. With the perfect ratio of warmth and X-ACTO precision, Lamb cuts to the tender pink of everything that can go awry in the parent-child covenant.”
Seven Days

The Not Good Enough Mother is an essential read for juvenile law practitioners and will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.”
Vermont Bar Journal

“In surefooted prose informed by experienced skepticism and personal humility, psychologist Sharon Lamb guides us through the moral and emotional ambiguities of judging the fitness of other women—and herself—to mother, in a culture a that mobilizes guilt and shame, and an economy that offers little support. The Not Good Enough Mother is both intimate and political, bracingly intelligent and deeply moving.”
—Judith Levine, author of Harmful to Minors

“Sharon Lamb shares with us what she knows about child placement and custody, telling heartbreaking stories about the children and parents she has evaluated, trying always to be fair and kind to all. With wisdom and empathy, she reflects on these most complex of questions about attachment, parenting, and rights. This book increased my moral imagination. I encourage all who truly wish to understand the lives affected by custody decisions to read this important book.”
—Mary Pipher

“No armchair academic or desk-bound psychologist (though richly credentialed in both fields), Lamb has worked in homes, courtrooms, and clinics; she returns to give us a treasury of intimate reportage, carefully wrought wisdom, self-awareness, and fierce truth telling that pours light into the most neglected passageways of parents and their children. The Not Good Enough Mother places Lamb in the diagnostic company of Robert Coles and Karen Horney, and recalls the writerly precision of Joan Didion. A superb and important new book.”
—Ron Powers, author of No One Cares About Crazy People

“Sharon Lamb’s The Not Good Enough Mother is a chilling and brutally honest account of how mothers, even with the best of intentions, fail their children. Lamb draws deft portraits of parents who love their children but who fail them in responsibility, in accountability, in addiction, in mental illness. One comes away from this book a better parent for having read it.”
—Lauren Slater, author of Playing House: Notes of a Reluctant Mother

“I sped through Sharon Lamb’s book in two days, even waking up at night to read, so compelled was I by its combination of case studies of parents, often once opiate-addicted or violent, whose parenting capacities Lamb needs to evaluate for the courts and her own story of having a son who turns out to struggle with opiates himself. What will keep me thinking about the book are the heartrending issues of forgiveness, empathy, guilt, responsibility, and judgment Lamb probes.”
—Debra Spark, author of The Unknown Caller

“Beautiful and wrenching; Lamb’s book refuses any easy formulations. It’s a book I expect to have a long shelf life, and a long life in readers’ minds and hearts after that.”
—Devon Jersild, author of Happy Hours

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