Our revolution A mother and daughter at midcentury

Honor Moore, 1945-

Book - 2020

"A daughter's memoir of her mother evolves beautifully into a narrative of the sweeping changes in women's lives in the twentieth century. Our Revolution, vivid and rich, reads like a nineteenth-century novel as we follow the love story of a woman and her family through the twentieth-century civil rights, antiwar, and feminist movements. Born into Boston society in 1923, Jenny Moore rebelled by going to college and later emerged as a writer. At twenty-one, she married Paul Moore, ...a decorated war hero who became Bishop Paul Moore, and joined him in a socially radical ministry. Eventually, they had nine children. "Everything was just starting," Jenny protested-meaning a new independent life inspired by the women's rights movement-when she was diagnosed with cancer at fifty. Jenny bequeathed her eldest daughter her unfinished writing, and there Honor Moore finds the mother whose loss had long haunted her. Our Revolution is a gripping account of two women navigating the twentieth century and a daughter's story of the mother who shaped her life as an artist and a woman"--

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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Biographies
Published
New York, NY : W. W. Norton & Company, Inc [2020]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
400 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 389-398).
ISBN
9780393080056
0393080056
Main Author
Honor Moore, 1945- (author)
  • Prologue: A Bequest
  • I. Fretwork
  • II. The Diana Cup
  • III. Persuasion
  • IV. Size of a Coconut
  • V. A Baby under One Arm, a Cabbage in the Other
  • VI. An Institution
  • VII. First- Person Singular
  • VIII. Our Revolution.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Distinguished poet Moore wrote about her father, Bishop Paul Moore, in the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist The Bishop's Daughter. Here she writes about her mother, Jenny, who defied her classy Boston family by going to college and eventually marrying her war hero beloved and becoming actively involved in his progressive ministry. She was diagnosed with cancer at age 50, regretting that she would lose out on the opportunity to join the feminist fight. Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Moore (The White Blackbird) takes on the ambitious task of distilling not just one life but two. The author recounts her mother's life and her own, especially amid social change movements of the 1960s. Moore represents a white family of considerable privilege, a fact that is acknowledged in the text but still limits the perspective. Moore shares intimate glimpses of her family life and coming-of-age story, beautifully integrating excerpts from her mother's writing among her own recollections and research. However, perhaps because it seeks to cover too much territory, the book sometimes struggles to remain engaging and at times gets bogged down by details. Overall, readers will catch the spirit of the story, but without a clear sense of the book's purpose and what comes next. VERDICT Moore offers a rich exploration of an individual whose life and family were dramatically altered by second-wave feminism. However, the account struggles with the dual tasks of being both biography and memoir and takes on more than it can satisfyingly deliver.—Sarah Schroeder, Univ. of Washington Bothell Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Poet and playwright Moore (The Bishop's Daughter) pays tribute to her mother, Jenny, a social activist and writer who died from cancer in 1973 at age 50, in a touching but overlong memoir. Throughout, she examines Jenny's emotionally turbulent life and strained marriage to Paul Moore Jr., a prominent bishop of the Episcopal Church, and explores the mother-daughter bond. Moore uses excerpts from her mother's private papers to tell the story: "It was time to pull the pages of her writing from their cartons," she says. "It was time to get to know my mother." The narrative spans WWII, the postwar boom years, and the civil rights and women's liberation movements, and covers Jenny's domestic and professional lives and the births of her nine children; Paul's religious career and the couple's efforts to establish a diverse church; and Jenny's late-in-life quest for independence after she became aware of Paul's bisexuality (her mother never did "reveal those suspicions to any of her children.... I consider her heroic"). Moore writes about trying to get close to her busy mother, and speculates about why she had so many kids ("motherhood was an arena in which to excel as a competitor"). This is a languid document, at time overstuffed with detail, but one that nevertheless offers a poignant look at the complexities of motherhood and womanhood. (Mar.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A daughter's memoir of her mother evolves beautifully into a narrative of the sweeping changes in women's lives in the twentieth century. Our Revolution, vivid and rich, reads like a nineteenth-century novel as we follow the love story of a woman and her family through the twentieth-century civil rights, antiwar, and feminist movements. Born into Boston society in 1923, Jenny Moore rebelled by going to college and later emerged as a writer. At twenty-one, she married Paul Moore, a decorated war hero whobecame Bishop Paul Moore, and joined him in a socially radical ministry. Eventually, they had nine children. "Everything was just starting," Jenny protested-meaning a new independent life inspired by the women's rights movement-when she was diagnosed with cancer at fifty. Jenny bequeathed her eldest daughter her unfinished writing, and there Honor Moore finds the mother whose loss had long haunted her. Our Revolution is a gripping account of two women navigating the twentieth century and a daughter's story of the mother who shaped her life as an artist and a woman"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A daughter’s memoir of her mother evolves beautifully into a narrative of the far-reaching changes in women’s lives in the twentieth century.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Our RevolutionRejecting a conventional path, the Moores moved to an inner-city parish in Jersey City and began their family while collaborating on a socially radical, multiracial ministry. In 1968, Jenny published her first book. "Everything was just starting," she protested—meaning an independent life inspired in part by the new feminist movement—when she was diagnosed with cancer at fifty.Our Revolution