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The Sunday Edition

New memoir by Marguerite Andersen questions what it means to be a "bad mother"

When she was 30 years old, Marguerite Andersen said goodbye to her two young sons, got on a plane, and disappeared from their lives for a year and a half. Now, about to turn 90, the Toronto-based writer has published a memoir, in French, called La Mauvais Mère.

"My children didn't want me to write this book. They, in a way, thought I was going crazy. But I did it anyhow."

On Sunday, March 23, CBC Radio One's The Sunday Edition is bringing us the story of Marguerite Andersen (you can also listen below right now!). In her latest book, the German-born writer, who lives in Ontario, has decided to look back on a period in her life that still torments her almost 60 years later—when she left her children for a year and a half to escape a bad marriage. 

La Mauvaise Mère is a philosophical and personal reflection on Andersen's conflicted feelings about this difficult time, and how it's impacted her self-image as a mother. Part confessional, part rumination, Sunday Edition producer Alisa Siegel's documentary "Good Enough" takes us inside Andersen's innermost thoughts as she faces the "insurmountable pain" of being, maybe not a "good" mother, but a "good enough mother." 

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Born in Germany, Marguerite Andersen started learning French when she was four and has lived her adulthood in that language. She studied at the Sorbonne, the Free University of Berlin and has a Ph.D. from the Université de Montreal. She has lived in Germany, France, England, Tunisia, Ethiopia, the U.S. and came to Canada in 1958. Since 1998, she has been editor for the quarterly French literary journal ViragesShe won the 2009 French-language Trillium Award for her book Le Figuier sur le toit. Her latest book, a memoir, La Mauvais Mère, is a finalist for the Prix des Lecteurs, Radio-Canada’s literature prize, awarded to a Canadian author writing in French, living outside of Quebec. She has seven grandchildren.



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