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The Girl in the Red Boots: Making Peace with My Mother


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In this compelling memoir, a wounded healer unpacks a complex mother and daughter relationship, with surprising results.

Sometimes, you come across a book you did not know you needed to read. This is one of them. The first chapter hooked me in. And by the time I reached the last page, I’d enjoyed a free therapy session that left me with much to ponder about my own relationships.

During an exploration of the mother-daughter dynamics with clients who struggle with eating disorders, this accomplished psychotherapist uncovers a memory of her own childhood trauma. She explores it further and learns more about her relationship with her mother than expected.

It forced her to examine the ambivalence towards her own mother, with whom she longed to have a deep emotional connection. The Biblical proverb “physician, heal yourself” comes to life as the author weaves together stories from her practice and her own life. As she helps others, she helps herself.

Dr. Rabinor unravels buried trauma in her own life and that of her patients with every “little experiment” she proposed during sessions. Her vulnerability encourages her clients to deal with their hurts, grief, and healing. Moreover, she embarks on a journey of forgiveness, acceptance and gratitude.

The author’s work uncovered mothers who did the best they could by following their doctor’s orders. Few could access the invaluable tools of therapy, such as communication and self-examination. It highlights why it’s important to ask “why” and to put yourself in the shoes of others. Also, as Dr. Rabinor reflects on her own life, she reveals the significance of the book's title.

This doctor is a skilled storyteller; she pulls you into the story with her conversational style of writing. You’ll feel as if you’ve sat down to share a cup of tea with her, and leave you itching to spill the secrets of your own heart. It will make you reflect on your relationship with your mother, and your own children if you are a parent. But this is not just a story for or about mothers. It is for everyone who’d like to examine their past hurts and learn about the power of forgiveness and acceptance.

Finally, in the last chapter, you’ll find guided imaginary exercises drawn from workshops and mentioned in the book. It will open your heart and serve as prompts for your own inner work. I highly recommend this book.

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About the author

Judith Ruskay Rabinor, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, consultant and psychotherapist with an office on line and in New York City. The author of three books, she has four decades of experience working with individuals, couples, groups and families. In addition, she coaches writers. view profile

Published on May 04, 2021

Published by She Writes

70000 words

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

Reviewed by