I'm Supposed to Protect You From All This

I'm Supposed to Protect You From All This

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"A memoir of mothers and daughters -- and mothers as daughters -- traced through four generations, from Paris to New York and back again. For a long time, Nadja Spiegelman believed her mother was a fairy. More than her famous father, Maus creator Art Spiegelman, and even more than most mothers, hers -- French-born New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly -- exerted a force over reality that was both dazzling and daunting. As Nadja's body changed and "began to whisper to the adults around me in a language I did not understand," their relationship grew tense. Unwittingly, they were replaying a drama from her mother's past, a drama Nadja sensed but had never been told. Then, after college, her mother suddenly opened up to her. Françoise recounted her turbulent adolescence caught between a volatile mother and a playboy father, one of the first plastic surgeons in France. The weight of the difficult stories she told her daughter shifted the balance between them. It had taken an ocean to allow Françoise the distance to become her own person. At about the same age, Nadja made the journey in reverse, moving to Paris determined to get to know the woman her mother had fled. Her grandmother's memories contradicted her mother's at nearly every turn, but beneath them lay a difficult history of her own. Nadja emerged with a deeper understanding of how each generation reshapes the past in order to forge ahead, their narratives both weapon and defense, eternally in conflict. Every reader will recognize herself and her family in this gorgeous and heartbreaking memoir, which helps us to see why sometimes those who love us best hurt us most"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2016
ISBN: 9781101627754
Characteristics: 1 online resource

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
LPL_MollyW Dec 30, 2018

I must be on a mother-daughter memoir roll...I read this book right after I read "Jello Girls." They are both honest and beautifully written memoirs about generations of mothers and daughters. I have been a fan of Art Spiegelman for some time but it was a breath of fresh air to hear the stories of his daughter, Nadja, and her relationship with her mother and grandmother.

Oct 10, 2017

I'm a sucker for memoirs about mothers and daughters, and this is a fairly engaging one. Not exactly... relatable, but well-written and touching in places.

Apr 05, 2017

I liked this book very much. It speaks to many about the relationship of mothers and daughters, how a generation gap can bring a granddaughter closer to her grandmother than a daughter, how time and culture changes family relationships.

Feb 21, 2017

Whatever the overall message of this book, it kept me engaged from beginning to end. It was akin to hiking on a long, meandering path; pleasant and unhurried. I gained affection for all of the main characters, author included. In the end, I'm not even so sure what the intent of the book was, other than, perhaps, the concept that we all see things through our own eyes. That's not too deep, but it was quite enjoyable. A well told read.

Manateestarz Dec 06, 2016

A really well written memoir of love with a difficult grandmother and an affectionate, loving but guarded mother. Both the Grandmother Josee and the Mom, Francoise are such complicated women. Francoise is driven and demanding but a very kind-hearted woman. I applaud the young author for being able to make the characters come alive on the page. Nadja does a good job of taking us into the worlds of Josee and Francoise and making us sympathize with these women who can seem mysterious, mercurial, and contradictory. We began to understand them as she tries to unravel what makes them tick.

ChristchurchLib Oct 18, 2016

Author Nadja Spiegelman's father was Art Spiegelman, who created the ground-breaking Holocaust memoir Maus, and her multi-talented, Paris-born mother Françoise Mouly was the New Yorker's art director. As a child, Spiegelman would ask her mother about her earlier life, but she always responded with "I'm supposed to protect you from all this." Once Spiegelman had reached 16, she began to draw her mother out about her life; after college she also traveled to Paris to learn more from her grandmother Josée. She has crafted the answers she found into this compelling memoir about daughters and mothers.

Sep 13, 2016

This is a great memoir and story of four generations of mothers and daughters. Heavily sprinkled with French and Paris- I loved it.

Sep 06, 2016

Spiegelman, the daughter of Maus creator Art Spiegelman and New Yorker Art director Francoise Mouly, explores the relationships between mothers and daughters in this memoir. Eager to know more about her mother's family, she interviews both her mother and grandmother Josee in search of the truth. What she encounters instead are wildly different versions of family history about Francoise, Josee, Mina, and Melanie, the previous four generations of her maternal line. The result is a highly personal memoir and proof that you can love others despite their flaws and past histories. The reader also gets a glimpse of French culture not designed for "les touristes".


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at TPL

To Top