Book Review · Uncategorized

Book Review: Mother Tongue by Karen Lee Boren

From The Publisher:

“Karen Lee Boren, drawing on her midwestern roots, explores the complex relationship between language and intimacy, between the heritage we’re born with and our chosen paths. Each character is adrift in her life, searching for a place to land. She is lost when her mother tongue fails her, struggling to find a new connection to her loved ones and her life.

My Review:

Mother Tongue by Karen Lee Boren is a collection of short stories, all through the eyes of women who are trying to find their places in this world. Each story is unique and different from the last but they all hold significant meanings.

I’ve never been one to eagerly search out short stories; for me, the longer the story is, the better! And quite honestly, this is one of the first books of short stories that I have ever read (and for an English major, that is pretty pathetic. I know). However, I am glad that this is one of the first that I got a hand of because it started to create in me a love for short stories.

To be quite frank, I wasn’t enraptured when I read the first story and instead, was quite troubled by the idea that they would all be similar.

Except they’re not.

So, do not be troubled, dear readers, if you read through the first story and are not pulled into the book. Continue to read! Trust me, it gets much better!

I should probably be explaining why I was not enamored with the first story, huh? You would think as a book blogger I would get the hang of this whole thing being that this blog is coming upon its one year anniversary (Eeeek! Exciting!).

Back on topic, Rachael!

Reading through the first story, I was discouraged, honestly. Within the few pages of the story, the protagonist, Sylvie, sleeps with her significant other, considers which of the men on her train she would procreate with, and then is wondering what a restaurant owner friend of hers would be like in bed. Honestly? In my opinion, if you write a story, it has to be worthwhile with characters that are inspirational. That story possessed hardly any meaning.

However, when I began to read the next short story, The Accordion, my hope in the author was restored. This story was beautiful! It explored family issues, the beauty of familial relationships, and the magic of music. It was probably my favorite story of the whole collection.

I won’t get into complete detail about all the stories but will summarize my thoughts of the whole book, instead.

I found that I loved the author’s writing style. She writes very descriptively and in-depth without making her stories too heavy with detail. When reading, you find yourself being swept away by the stories and their characters. I wasn’t fond of all of the stories but there were a handful that I did like. Though, that’s bound to happen — an author should be writing for themselves and not to please the world. With that being the case, I’m fine with saying that I didn’t like everything this book had to offer because I expected that to happen.

If you plan to be the good readers that you are to me, you will look into reading this book because you care about me. Plus, it’s published by my university’s publishing house so you could be even more awesome and support my university by buying it if this sounds like a book that you would be interested in. 😉


★ ★ ★.5

Three and a half stars!

PG-13/R rating — there are sexual implications, swearing, and some other negative elements that would own up to the rating I have given it.

**I go by movie standards when I rate books. **

Find Mother Tongue On:



Barnes and Noble

New River’s Press

*Reviewer’s personal copy. All opinions expressed are my own.*


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