Not the Mother I Remember

Amber Lea Starfire


Kathy Pooler

3 months ago

Mother –daughter relationships are complex under the best of circumstances. In her stunning memoir, Not the Mother I Remember, Amber Lea Starfire details the complexities of her own relationship with her mother through her dead mother’s journals and letters. What she discovers is both heartbreaking and transformative as she slowly unveils the meaning of her mother’s words and reflects on the perception of the mother she thought she knew. With raw honesty and vivid prose, she conveys the heartache and confusion of a child who craves her mother’s attention. As a reader, I felt her childhood anguish yet I was also mesmerized by her mother’s spirit of adventure and independence. What mother earns a pilot’s license and flies her two children all over the country, making sure to land in each state? As in life, the characters are multidimensional, each with their flaws and redeeming features. Starfire portrays her characters realistically and makes them believable. I could admire her mother’s spunk while also wishing she could have been more present to her children.

What resulted from these painful revelations about her mother is a deeper understanding of a woman trying to find her place. It is through facing the pain of the past that Starfire is able to reach a level of acceptance and forgiveness toward her mother and in doing so, she sets herself free.

This is a beautifully written, powerful memoir about one woman’s heroic journey into the past to find freedom for herself.