Book Review: A CURE FOR DREAMS: the cure for Mother's Day blues

Gibbons, Kaye. A Cure for Dreams (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 1991)

Kaye Gibbons of Raleigh, NC presents a beautiful look at mother-daughter relationships in A Cure For Dreams, her third novel, and women especially will appreciate this book at Mother's Day.

Marjorie Polly Randolph introduces the story, recalling the way her recently deceased mother, Betty Davies Randolph, loved to talk. Betty tells about the life of her mother, Lottie O'Cadhain Davies.

The mothers talk, and the daughters listen, and more often than not, the mothers tell their daughters what their mothers told them. And thus gems of wisdom are passed down from generation to generation.


But the motherly advice is not purely famiy rhetoric, for each mother, in her own turn, examines the previous generation's mistakes, and moves on to live her own life a little differently.

The chapter titles reveal some of the subject matter as typical of mother-daughter conversaions. In Chapter 4, entited "Feminine Secrets Disclosed," for example, Betty recalls her mother's instruction concerning "the sign" which reveals whether or not a man realy loves his wife.

"Listen and hear what the men call their wives when they come to the store to fetch them. Listen. Old squaw. This sounds bad but it's truly sweet. Dear and Honey. I wouldn't trust these. They have an unnatural ring. Rarely, rarely though you will hear a woman called from the store by her name, which is best...A woman's name will always suffice, but if you'll keep your ears open in a room with men and women, you'll hear it's the call used least often."


Gibbons has crammed enough such wisdom into 171 pages to carry four generations of women and more. The novel is short and upholds the cliche that good things come in small packages.

Gibbons' style flows with the storytelling genius of many Southern women, and readers can imagine listening to Betty as she rocks, reminising naturally as our mothers and grandmothers do.

A Cure for Dreams, with it's familiarity and lessons of experience, parrallels the cycle women travel from daughter to mother and promises delight for Mother's Day readers, both givers and receivers.

Copyright Dineane Whitaker 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url:

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Comments 1 comment

obxdeborah 8 years ago

Sounds good. I think I'll check it out.

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