Kathryn Kysar

In this anthology, a group of America’s celebrated literary women have come together to tackle a topic close to their hearts: Mom. These highly personal yet often universal stories offer windows into those influential mother-daughter moments that have forever shaped the lives and perspectives of the writers, powerful women—authors, spokespeople, scholars, teachers, and some mothers themselves.

Jonis Agee’s mother haunts her daughter’s plumbing. Tai Coleman’s mother struggled to raise five children on her own wits and a single pay check. Heid Erdrich’s mother showed her daughter both the falsity and the truth in the cliché of the “Indian Princess.” Sheila O’Connor’s mother, who ran a road construction company, was not like other mothers. Ka Vang’s mother dodged the hand grenades that her husband’s first wife threw on her wedding day. Morgan Grayce Willow’s mother drove home late at night after selling cosmetics to farm wives as her daughter rode shotgun.

In true tales of startling candor and rich insight, these and many other talented writers reflect on the women who raised them, revealing hard work and hardship, successes and failures, love and anger—mothers and daughters.
Riding Shotgun is a remarkably honest and truly heartening gathering of essays, demonstrating with clarity and force the myriad ways that mothers and daughters share love and lives. But you needn't be a mother or a daughter - only human - to recognize what's universal in these painful, redemptive, wise, and often sweetly comic essays. This is simply a wonderful collection!”
~Dinty Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire

Riding Shotgun stands out from the overly sentimental books that show up every spring (like mayflies, but slightly more long-lived), because it is a collection of memoirs and creative nonfiction that’s worth reading, even if one’s maternal relationship is slightly problematic. Adoptee Sun-Yung Shin writes of sorting out questions of race, nationality and labor; Susan Kelly tells of her mother’s loss of Native American identity; Tai Coleman writes of boundaries sternly enforced in “Grown Folks’ Business.” These are memories of working mothers, mothers who face down difficulties and raise strong daughters, whether they intended to do so or not. Crossing ethnic and regional boundaries, the women in these stories are recognizable. We work beside them, live next door, sometimes call them “Mom.”
~Kel Munger, Newsreview.com

Riding Shotgun: Women Write About Their Mothers, edited by Kathryn Kysar, contains 21 thoughtful explorations of memory, discovery and the mother-daughter bond. The writing in this collection is superb, thanks to the skill and thoughtfulness of the contributors, which include accomplished novelists, poets, journalists and essayists such as Jonis Agee and Sandra Benítez. There are photos, too, lovely in both their familiarity—awkward poses in dress-up clothes, mom-and-baby candids—and diversity. Riding Shotgun is an honest, memorable collection worth savoring and sharing.”
~Linda M. Castellitto, BookPage