Remarkable stories about mothers

I expected wonderful, funny, inspiring stories about mothers in Compassionate Journey, subtitled Honoring Our Mothers’ Stories. But these stories are about very difficult and often troubling relationships with mothers, some of whom were mentally ill and very nasty.

I came away more thankful than ever for my Mom, who was a real gem, and with great respect for the five women who wrote their mothers’ stories for this book, published by Maine Authors Publishing.

I fully agree with author Monica Wood’s comments in the introduction: “A group of women met regularly to write their mothers’ stories, and what resulted was huge and beautiful. I was deeply moved by this book.” Me too, Monica.

The authors are Maggie Butler, Cheryl Gillespie, Jenny Radsma, Martha Rice, and Jane Sloven.

Jane’s is the first story, and it alone could have been a book. It’s a story you will never forget. And I admire the way these five ladies worked closely together, encouraging each other along the way. They all met at a workshop sponsored by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, and subsequently spent years working together – and inspiring each other – to bring us this remarkable book.

I think each of them came away from the project with a greater understanding of their mothers. “Putting into words the struggles of these women was challenging, moving, and a powerful exercise,” they wrote in the conclusion.

Reading this memoir was all of those, and more, and I thank these women for all the work they put into sharing their stories with us.


George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.