This narrative is shared honestly, with the author reflecting on disputes and how being caught between her parents made her feel. However, there are lighter moments, dancing around the house singing Diana Ross into hairbrushes with her friends, crushes on her mother’s new housemates to name just a few things that gave strength and allowed teenage Diane to manage. Saying that the book is light-hearted plays down the pain of the experiences shared but there is a strength shown in the author’s ability to look back and share in a way that is candid yet witty. And that this strength has allowed the author to forgive and move on, breaking the cycle of her own mother’s behaviour is in a way cathartic for the reader.
Thank you to Diane Danvers Simmons for sharing her book “My Mother Next Door.” We had a moving and heartfelt conversation on how foundational relationships impact the women we become and other mentors in our lives. It was a very powerful evening and I was blown away with the openness and vulnerability from the women who shared their stories. Not everyone knew each other there and I did not realize it at the time, but the woman who sat next to me was crying through the entire discussion. I take that as a very good sign that Diane’s book and deep conversation touched everyone in meaningful ways. I think it was a very important and healing conversation that will continue to reverberate in the lives of the women who attended.
Senior Vice President of Philanthropic Services, Community Foundation for Monterey County
The book is narrated by Diane herself, which I really enjoyed. You can feel the emotion running through her words, and her sense of humour comes through well. There is always much more intimacy and feeling in a story of this kind when the author takes you through the events of their life. It is always enlightening to delve into the complicated family history of others, and I think that in these modern times it is not easy to convey quite how much Diane's family circumstances were unusual for the time. I applaud her ability to take the positives from her journey and leave the negatives behind.
This is a unique and compelling story of mother loss, grief and healing. Diane offers us a beautiful model of how to live with the contradictory feelings of loss and longing in order to find the gift of acceptance for our imperfect mothers. Read this book and soak in the gift of personal growth that forgiveness brings.
JUDITH RUSKAY RABINOR, PHD
Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Author of "The Girl in the Red Boots" and "A Starving Madness”
A bright, lively account, leavened with humor and wit that take the edges off a unique story of loss, confusion and reconciliation with one’s circumstances and the mother who brought it all about. Ms. Simmons writes with flair, with insight, and with a generous heart. A delightful book worthy of a deep read.
author of Arc of the Comet and Through the Waters and the Wild
Diane has captured the delightful soul of her younger self to spin a wonderful and gripping tale of the tug-of-war between family love and family struggle… a must read!
Anchor of “BANFIELD” on Newsnation
Readers will appreciate this beautiful and honest story of the complexities in a mother/daughter relationship. Simmons reminds us, as daughters, we are deeply connected to our mothers, and how this impacts our own parenting.
author of I am My Mother’s Daughter: Wisdom on Life, Loss, and Love
This book really touches the heart with a bit of much needed humor. A must read for mothers and daughters.