Margaux Bergen’s book, NAVIGATING LIFE: Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me (Penguin Press), began as a way to prepare her oldest daughter, Charlotte for the real world. Ten years into the job, basically verbally flying off the seat of her pants, she picked up a pen and started writing down the “tools” Charlotte would need to engage in the world and flourish. It was to be a guide to life, started by a mother when her daughter was in elementary school and given on her first day of college.
“Originally I wrote this as an act of desperation,” she writes, “in response to a series of dramas that visited our family: addiction, illness, depression, job loss, and death. It was a rearguard action, an attempt to sort out on paper how to cope with life’s more extreme circumstances.”
Bergen’s aim as a mother is to raise kind, civilized, thoughtful, aware children. The goal of her book is to prepare her child for life, not to protect her from it. That includesliving is constantly learning, never underestimating the value of good conversation and considering one’s words carefully.
I immediately felt a kindred spirit to Bergen, when she shares, on an excursion to a bookstore with her daughter, she chose Lydia Davis’ collection of short stories, BREAK IT DOWN to purchase. I write that because it’s obvious Davis is an influence on Bergen’s writing. It’s pithy, straightforward, easy to read, but complex. Her thoughts are well-organized and anyone who reads, NAVIGATING LIFE will learn something. I certainly did. One may occasionally think they’re being lectured to, but that wasn’t my take. Bergen is divorced and still learning to navigate the single landscape. Research for her next book?
Born in Paris and raised in London, educated at Edinburgh University and living in Washington D.C., Margaux is the mother of three millennials. She has spent her career working in international development and women’s leadership and has held senior communications positions at the World Bank, the United Way and Vital Voices. She believes words matter. And is still learning the extreme sport of raising three children.
Thanks to BookSparks we have one copy of NAVIGATING LIFE to giveaway. Just tell us one thing you wish your mother had told you, when you were a child. We’ll announce a winner Monday. Have a lovely sacred week, whichever Holiday you celebrate.