Gift From the Sea
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Anne Morrow Lindbergh was Charles Lindbergh's wife, mother of six children, one of which was kidnapped as a baby and never returned, and a writer. She was a contemporary American woman, living in the suburbs, raising children, caring for a husband, and keeping up a home. She had to get children to their events, make meals, make and care for clothes, and do the general things a woman working at home had to do.
When her youngest child was ten, Lindbergh took a retreat to Sanibel Island off the Florida coast in the Gulf. It was a chance for her to recharge. It also was time for her creative mind to kick in.
Lindbergh used the beach and shells she found there as analogies for a woman's life - or anyone's life, but especially for a woman. She had made a point of talking to women of all ages and life situation to see what women wanted and needed. She was surprised to find that they all shared life hopes and dreams similar to her own.
In Gift From the Sea, Lindbergh shares her philosophies and meditations on being a woman in a busy culture - specifically the United States but not necessarily the US. She looks at the different stages of life, from youth through old age, from marriage to being a mother to the need to be alone to the need to be creative. She looks at different shells and is able to compare them to different periods in a woman's life.
In 1975, Lindbergh added an epilogue about the changes that had happened since she wrote Gift From the Sea. She noted how much things had changed in those 20 years, both to women in this country and to her personally. Those years added to her meditations.
This small book is packed with thoughts to ponder and dwell on. Although it was written in the 1950's, what she says is as applicable today as it was then.
For example, in one section she talks about the need for a woman to get away for a short time weekly, monthly, or at the most annually. The get-away need only be time away from family, home, and job - a chance to be alone. As I watch my grown daughter, stay at home mother of two young daughters of her own, I understand what Lindbergh is saying. It's difficult to get away and recharge when constantly on call. She cherishes those times when the youngest is asleep and no one else is at home. As often as not, she is busy cleaning or working at home, but it is also a chance for her to relax into herself. Lindbergh stresses that in one chapter of this short book.
A friend recommended this book to me. She told me how wonderful it was. It certainly is worth reading again. In fact, after reading a library copy, I ordered a copy for myself. It's a good one for self contemplation.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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