My book club read A Gift from the Sea
by Anne Morrow Lindbergh over the summer, but I couldn't find a copy. I saw this new 50th anniversary edition this week and picked one up.
The book is a discussion of modern (1950) women's lives and roles in society, but it's not stuffy at all. She writes it while on a seaside vacation and in each chapter she compares the stages of her life with a different type of seashell.
The basic premise is that women (particularly those in the midst of the child-raising years) need some quiet time alone. Time to think, create, write, etc. Women need time alone to center themselves in order to keep themselves in balance.
My favorite part: *Nothing feeds the center so much as creative work, even humble kinds like cooking and sewing. Baking bread, weaving cloth, putting up preserves, teaching and singing to children, must have been far more nourishing than being the family chauffeur or shopping at supermarkets, or doing housework with mechanical aids.*
The 70s feminist movement took away our desire to craft. I grew up wanting to be like Mary Tyler Moore--have an apartment, a job, and go on dates. No man, no kids, no sewing, cooking, ironing. . . It's the ultimate irony that my life has turned out just the opposite, stay-at-home mom who sews, knits, etc. I've turned into my mother, but now I've learned it's not such a bad thing.
The book would make a great gift for a busy woman. It's short, I read it in an evening (about an hour and a half). It was written a long time ago, but still rings true. This is one of those books that people say they reread once a year.
It's not often that you pick up a book and it seems to be telling you exactly what you need to hear. Even just now, when I picked up to quote the passage above, it opened right to that page. . . Eerie.