Hold Still

A portrait of familial love that is real, visceral, and all the more dangerous for being unconditional (2016.3)


关于本书 About the book

Lynn Steger Strong’s debut Hold Still tells a gripping story of parenting, culpability, and forgiving. The book centers on the Taylor family living in Manhattan, New York. The point of view shifts between the mother, Maya, and the daughter, Ellie: Maya is an intense, gifted English professor of Columbia University, a heartbroken mother whose twenty-year-old daughter leads a life that is corrupted by skipping school, drug abuse, and promiscuous sex. In order to ‘save’ Ellie before she’s beyond redemption, Maya sends Ellie to Florida to look after a friend’s child, hoping that it will rebuild her life and make her more grounded and responsible. However, an unexpected catastrophe occurs during Ellie’s stay in Annie’s place. The accident hangs over the fractured relationship between the mother and the daughter, which takes a fundamental turn in the end of the book.

本书金句 Key insights

● She wants to tell him that Recovery, or whatever it is they’ve decided to call what they’re forcing on her, is bullshit if you don’t feel like you’re getting any better, if you’re not totally sure about what you’re meant to recover from.

● There’s this part in Beyond Good and Evil where Nietzsche talks about being young and saying yes to everything . . . Then Nietzsche says there’s another phase. A phase in which he said no to everything. Exhausted maybe by all that yes. Maybe exhausted by what it has or hasn’t brought. A lot of people do, they reach a certain age and they get angry; they start rejecting everything that came before them, as a way of asserting themselves more certainly on the world.

● Her dad traveled a lot when she and Benny were little. They helped him in the garden. He helped with homework and cooked most of the meals. But it has always been their mom who parented. Her mom Parented so much sometimes that Ellie couldn’t breathe.

● We must have made them this way, you know. You let them think they deserve things without having to work for them. You’re so committed to your catering to them, giving everything you could think to give to them, but then you were the one who would disappear. You taught them this.

● I guess there are things that connect us to the people who gave birth to us, and the people that we gave birth to.