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the mother sat there stiff in her mink-lined coat and ashen face

When I first saw the TV adaptation of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and made out the stiff figure of Geraldine McEwan as the girl's mother in her coat and hat, I nearly had a heart attack, it was the image of my mother. Who was, in life, certainly not to be outdone in Christian madness by Jeanette Winterson's semi-fictional mother character.

Part of the problem is to know who's mad, or the maddest. But that is speculative compared to the power one can have over the other. It may come down to a question of brute force. I broke off with my mother when I was still young, and put a fair physical distance between us. I think that's how I preserved my sanity.

If you think your friend's committal is abusive, perhaps you can help him get free of it, but what he probably most needs is to get out from under his mother's thumb. Which of course you know, and no doubt measure how hard it is to bring about.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 03:57:23 PM EST

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