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Published by: Coffeehouse Press


Lydia contributed the essay “Fluidity.”

Torn was chosen for the Motherlode Book Club on

“If you have a mother, are a mother or know a mother, read this book.”

Trying to strike the right balance between career and motherhood is one of the most stressful, heart-wrenching issues facing women today. In Torn, forty-six women examine the conflict between the need to nurture and the need to work, and reveal creative solutions for having the best of both worlds. Their stories offer hope and inspiration, but also reveal the messy realities of modern motherhood and life’s inevitable crises, both small and large: from breast pump mishaps to battles with cancer; diaper blowouts to debilitating depression; competitive cupcake baking to coming home from war.

In the end, the reader can take comfort in the knowledge that there is no perfect mother, nor is there a perfect balance when it comes to kids and career. The real challenge facing women today is not juggling their many roles, but realigning their expectations of what is possible and accepting that success does not equal “doing it all.”

Praise for Torn

“For those of us who live in a constant state of anxiety about how we’ve compromised our careers for our kids or the other way around, books about the work/life balance and how other women have dealt with it remain perennially interesting. [Torn] is a welcome addition to this body of work . . . The point that nobody actually has it all is made all the more compelling when it is made by a choir of voices.”
—Deborah Netburn, LA Times

“Sharp, poignant and sometimes funny stories about some very unfunny issues that mothers grapple with daily. If you have a mother, are a mother or know a mother, read this book.”
—Katherine Clifford, Founder of

“Torn is a poignant look at how a generation of mothers is trying to forge its own identity while honoring the legacy of 60s and 70s feminism. Sometimes freedom can be its own trap, and this book illustrates that principle beautifully.”
—Neal Pollack, columnist for Vanity Fair and author of Alternadad and Stretch