September 27, 2011
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Katherine Anne Kindred's memoir An Accidental Mother is a heartfelt and heartbreaking account of love and loss in the age of extended families. Her story of raising her partner's son then losing contact with him is powerful and resonating, and would make a thought provoking nonfiction pick for book clubs.
Devourer of Books wrote of the book:
"A very short book, An Accidental Mother is also an extremely compelling and heartbreaking book. In addition, it raises the question of what exactly makes someone a parent. If you live with a child for six years, care for him when he is sick, get up with him when he has a nightmare, help him with his homework – and all of these things out of love, not the obligation of a job – are you not his parent?"
My book tells the story of meeting and falling in love with Jim, a single dad, and how I came to love his son, too. The boy's mother was not in his life and I very quickly took on the responsibilities of co-parenting Michael, then three years of age, and at times, his half sister Elizabeth, just a year old. As my bond with Michael grew, I became mother, he became son, and I began to observe and record the joys – and challenges – of being a parent. When my relationship with his father ended he promised me I would always be in Michael's life, and I was determined to find ways to let Michael know that whatever changes came, my love for him would always remain. But it wasn't long before his father told me I could no longer see the boy. My heart was broken.
The book wrote itself throughout the course of our relationship, and several songs come to mind as the soundtrack to those six years.
"Sunrise" by Simply Red
Jim spent a lot of time on his computer in the den, and often he would download songs and the children and I would hear them coming from his computer speakers. I asked him to burn this song on a disc for me, and I used to play it in my car. This song always reminds me of the beginning of our relationship, when we were happy as a couple and he began entrusting me to parent his children.
"Escapade" by Janet Jackson
This was another song Jim used to play on his computer around the time the children were three and five years of age. The children and I would ask him to play it over and over. We would dance around the den and sing along with it. I think I had more fun dancing around than the children did, as I was always willing to be silly just to entertain them.
"Waiting for You" by Seal
This song is from an album I played in the car on the way to daycare when Michael was just turning five. This was my favorite song from the disc, and Michael seemed to like it as much as I did. One morning we were listening to the song and as the final crescendo prior to the last chorus played, Michael said to me "Kate! This is the scary part!" It made me laugh but I realized that the dramatic effect of a crescendo could definitely be interpreted as scary.
"Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson
When Kelly Clarkson's second album came out, it became another I would play in the car on the way to daycare, and the children would ask me "please play that song again!" I explained to the children that Kelly Clarkson had won the first season of the television competition, American Idol. When the next season of American Idol began, Michael and I started watching it together. Soon, it became a weekly ritual. We would schedule dinner, homework and chores around the television show. Michael determined we would rate the performances with a thumbs up or thumbs down, and we always cheered together for our favorites.
"Cody's Song" by Kenny Loggins
This song makes me cry every time I hear it. It is a lovely song that Kenny Loggins wrote to his child when he was going through a divorce. I sang this song to Michael and Elizabeth often through the years, and when I sang the verse "Darlin' I'll be there, anytime and anywhere," I would always look right at Michael and Elizabeth to let them know I was singing to them. When Jim and I broke up, I told Michael I would always be there for him. It breaks my heart to know that I cannot, and it hurts even more wondering if Michael thinks all of my promises were lies.
"Know Better" by Elliott Yamin
Michael and I spent many nights in front of the television, cheering on Elliott Yamin on American Idol. His second album came out during the time that Jim and I were breaking up. Jim's divorce had been volatile and chaotic, and I wanted to show him a break-up could be civil and cordial. More so, I wanted Michael to be able to live in a house, not an apartment. And so, over the course of our last months together, I obliged Jim's every request and helped him out financially. When just a few months later he denied me contact with Michael, I realized he had taken complete advantage of my generosity, probably knowing all along he would eventually cut me out of the picture. I played this song over and over again in the months after our break-up: "after all that we've been through, you still wanna let me down, I keep givin' in to you, you'd think I know by now."
Katherine Anne Kindred and An Accidental Mother links:
also at Largehearted Boy:
other Book Notes playlists (authors create music playlists for their book)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (weekly book reviews)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from the week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists
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