Stepmother by Marianne Lile
Published by She Writes Press on September 27th 2016
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Family & Relationships, Parenting, Personal Memoirs, Stepparenting, Women
Stepmother tells the story of Marianne Lile, who met a man, fell in love, got married, and arrived home from the honeymoon with a new label: stepmom. It was a role she initially embraced but she quickly discovered she was alone in a difficult situation, with no handbook and no mentor. Here, Lile describes the complexities of the stepmom position, in a family and in the community, and shares her experience wearing a tag that is often misunderstood and weighed down by the numerous myths in society. Candid and poignant, Stepmother is a story of love and like, resentments and exasperation, resignation and hope and a story, ultimately, of family.
So how many of you watched the Brady Bunch growing up? That “blended family” with the stepmother and the stepfather and everyone was in perfect harmony? Yeah, me too. Guess what? Turns out that show didn’t really depict how the whole blended family thing really works at all – at least not in my world.
Seems like everyone I know has been married, divorced and then remarried one or two times. They have (or are) stepmothers, stepfathers, stepchildren, step-extended family or family of preference or whatever they are calling it these days (excuse my lack of political correctness here). I have cousins who have been married the same number of times that they have chosen to reproduce. While it makes it easy to count for some of us who are unclear which marriage they are in, it makes family tree charting insane!
When I saw the name of this book, Stepmother: A Memoir, by Marianne Lile, I was pretty sure it was going to be a good book because it relates to a real topic head on. It could go either way too – you could have the kind of stepmother that we think of from the fairytales – the “evil stepmother” – right? I know I do. Then, there’s the over-compensating kind that let the kids get away with everything or irritate the ex-wife to no end – something like the movie with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon called Stepmom. Then there’s the kind like one of my childhood best friends had – she stepped right in but didn’t overtake the house. She was there and loved on those kids when they needed her and as my friends look back now, they realize they gained a mother in their hearts thanks to their stepmom.
In Stepmother: A Memoir, Marianne shares her struggles with readers in a very honest way. She shows us the difficulties she experienced as she learned her role as a stepmother. At times I was laughing and at others, I was crying just reading her walk. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the love of family no matter how it is blended, and that’s exactly what Lile shows us in this book.
Marianne fell in love, became a new wife, and then BAM! She was instant mother of two stepchildren. She gives us a very good narrative, and it’s very down to earth. It feels like a neighbor just sharing her story with a friend. She shares how emotional and complicated the “step” relationship can be, and she also shares the rewards of successes. She’s never vindictive or mean and you never see that horrible fairytale stepmother appear, although with the day-to-day struggles involved in this blended family situation, I’m sure it could have gone another way. Marianne shows readers how it is done. Kudo’s to her and her family for making it through the growth period and coming out the other side alive and well!
So who is Marianne Lile? Here’s what she says on her website: “I’m a mom, stepmom, and now an author at She Writes Press.
I am also a graduate of Colorado College and in a former life worked as a lobbyist for health related interests in Washington D.C. and Olympia, WA. I put political issues aside to raise kids – my husband’s and our own. The culmination of that 20 year plus “project” resulted in a memoir, Stepmother.
You can often find me in my Seattle neighborhood walking our 120 pound Bernese Mountain dog and our 13 pound Lapso Apso mix.”
I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from BookSpark and the publisher as part of the #MagicofMemoir Tour!