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The Leopard Hat: 04/10/07

Leopard Hat

I picked up The Leopard Hat right after Harriet was born at a local BookCrossing meeting. I'd recently enjoyed some other memoirs and I liked the leopard spotted cover.

The Leopard Hat is Valerie Steiker's memories of her mother, Gisèle who died unexpectedly of breast cancer when the author was in college. The loss of a loved one, especially one as close as a dearly loved parent is difficult and sad. Writing this memoir was part of the healing process for Steiker but I wish I had spent my time reading a different memoir instead.

Steiker grew up in the sort of families that the New York Times is always covering — the ones who stress over au pairs, private preschools and all sorts of other luxuries that leave the rest of us scratching our heads over. So when Steiker, as an adult is looking back on her childhood and bemoaning how hard it is to do things for herself now that her mother is gone, I find myself thinking of Lenina Crowne from Brave New World who has been so programmed by society to be infantile in her needs and desires.

I realize I'm being overly harsh but I didn't have much to relate to while reading this book beyond my own love of my mother. Readers who are familiar with New York, have traveled in Europe and lived the single life into their thirties will probably come away with more from the is book than I did.

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