Tuesday, June 15, 2010

mothers-in-law: variously feared, loathed, ridiculed, appreciated and adored but rarely ignored...

Wherever I am, there's a high likelihood that I will pop into the first bookshop I come across. Yes, at Southampton last week, I saw British Bookshops & Stationers, went in and whoala couldn't resist picking up this interesting book hehe. First published by Faber & Faber Limited in 2008 and this paperback edition first published in 2010.

What with the school holidays and 'mating season' extravaganza right now in Malaysia dan lain2 kawasan yang sewaktu dengannya (wink), perhaps it would not be too much on my part to try and share some interesting insights about mother-in-laws who apparently are perceived almost the same everywhere haha (same same but different..as the Thai imitation goods peddlers are heard saying..in front of the Bangkok Shangrila hahaha).

The Complete Book of Mothers-in-law is written by Luisa Dillner, who now lives in London, originally trained and worked as a doctor in Bristol, a columnist for the Guardian and works for new ideas for the British Medical Journal Publishing Group and has also been contributor to many magazines and newspapers including Vogue, Cosmopolitan and the Observer.

There have always been mothers-in-law and most of us will end up either having or being one. We all, well most of us, have mother-in-law (s) eheh heh...some err more than one actually (wink) and most of us too are either already a father-in-law or a mother-in-law. I am already a father -in-law haha. Just read on please and let's not get emotional or be judgemental hehehe.

Luisa devoted 12 chapters beginning with the essential history of (Mothers-in-law); in different cultures; motherly mothers-in-law; even the Royals and Presidential Mothers-in-law didn't escape her scrutiny (haha); mixed feelings about Mothers-in-law, Mothers-in-law who took a stand; Mad, Bad and Scheming Mothers-law; Mother-in-law-baiting; Racy Mothers-in-law, Mothers-in-law on the Web, and finally... How to be a Good Mother-in-law...hahahaha.

I like her prologue when she wrote about her mother-in-law Maggie. She began '...I can't remember when I first met my mother-in-law and she's vague on when she met me. This suggests that we are not sentimental about our relationship and it doesn't consume either of our lives.' Then she wrote her mother-in-law said 'If you are good enough for him, that's good enough for me.' I like that bit when the author said 'I doubt I will be so laissez-faire about whoever my son embraces as a partner...'

The role of mother-n-law has existed throughout the ages; a part that no one actively chooses and anyone would be forgiven, considering the negative stereotypes, for thinking it has little to recommend it. Mothers-in-law have been variously feared, loathed, ridiculed, appreciated and adored but rarely ignored. The mother-in-law phenomenon is global haha. Historically, the author says you can find mothers-in-law in all varieties: admirable, loving, scheming, bad, divine (literally) and quite ordinary.

Mothers-in-law worldwide are called by different names: the Afrikaans: skoomoeder, Danish: svigermor, Germans: schiegermutter, Italian: suocera, Dutch: schoonmoeder; Spanish: suegra, Turkish: kaynana, Indonesian: mertua perempuan, Finnish: anoppi, Irish: mathaie cheile...but she forgot Malaysian....IBU MERTUA KU! hahahahaha...

When I picked up the book I could not stop reading it. It is hugely entertaining and a most witty celebration of a most complicated relationship, full of anecdotes and amusing illustrations, and didn't leave any mother-in-law sterotype untouched, informative and charming. Go pick your own copy! No no no..I am not going to tell you anymore about it. Can you please let me finish the book now? hehehe

1 comment:

Nasariyev Usovich said...

So, you are a confirmed anglophile, ehh ? Would have thought you might write on strategy, like how to win a heart, hehehe... Your travelogues are exhilirating, keep on writing, Prof !!