Care To Swoon? How Culture Is Key To The Mom-Teen Connection

by Becky on January 24, 2013 · 4 comments

in Books, Music, Parenting, Traditions


My teen girls and I:  sometimes, we need a good swoon.  For that, we turn to movies like the incomprehensibly lush Jane Eyre, with music by Dario Marianelli.  As we cluster on my bed, the three of us, we often dial up the film score on Grooveshark or Spotify and laugh at ourselves.  “Look at us,” I’ll say as we recap our favorite scenes and let ourselves be swept away by Marianelli’s musical imaginings.

Jane Eyre was probably the first “big girl” book I ever read, and it touched some rarefied chord in me that no other kind of reading experience had yet triggered.  You have to understand:  I . . . was . . . Jane.  When I finished the book, the world looked a little different to me, almost as if I’d traveled to someplace others hadn’t yet been to, making them less fit to appreciate the story of my adventures.  Or so I felt.

I really do believe that some books, some pieces of music, some works of art change us, almost right down to our DNA.  For that reason, I’ve been foisting books on my kids practically from the womb.  So it’s with such great pleasure that I gather my girls–my tribe, I call them–onto my bed sometimes, where we’ll listen to music, review books together, and talk about cultural events both life-changing and totally inconsequential.

The acquisition of culture is about so much more than just knowing that some dude with a fondness for starry night skies liked swirly brush strokes.  To the extent that we embrace it, culture allows us to relate to each other in ways we wouldn’t otherwise.  If it’s a swoon, for example, that brings my daughters and me together, connecting us for an hour or so on a Sunday night, let’s say, then Jane Eyre is more than the sum of its literay parts.  It’s mortar, for my relationships.  And moms and their teens:  they need that.

Melissa January 26, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Do you know I just read Jane Eyre for the first time? How did I make it through high school without reading any of these classic books that I’m sure you found early on. I just read Little Women as well, and went to see the play AND the musical in December. I’ve downloaded Wide Sargasso Sea onto my Kindle, which my lovely English major college freshman told me to read. Did you read The Flight of Gemma Hardy, which is an updated take on Jane Eyre? I’m reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin now. I can’t get enough of what I missed in my youth. Thank goodness I found it now. Of course, you knew all along…

Becky January 27, 2013 at 5:20 am

Melissa! Isn’t Jane Eyre amazing? We should start our own little book club when I get back. Naturally it would have to involve things to sip and things to nibble on. I miss you! Huge hugs. Becky

kc petersen February 27, 2013 at 9:16 pm

This is so true! I believe that we are changed by good literature, even to, possibly, our DNA. And if good literature, shared, as a culture, especially since the superfluous culture that surrounds us these days, is so prominent, is the mortar between mother and daughter, and father and son, and brother and sister, then, there is every good reason for me to crave and feel passionate about good literature (and art and music) even more than I already do.

Becky February 28, 2013 at 12:05 am

Spoken like a true book lover! I’d LOVE to know what’s on your ‘top-three’ list lately. What are you reading that’s doing it for you? Do tell! Besos.

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