Maternal memoir a moving coming-of-age story


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Twin Cities-based author Amoke Kubat has penned a refreshing manuscript with her memoir Missing Mama: My Story of Loss, Sorrow and Healing (Respondability, Inc., $20). Indeed, it is welcome change of pace from the bitter diatribes that far too often in this neck of the woods champion women by disparaging men.

All the more because Kubat is a master wordsmith. She engages with a fluid, crystal-clear flow of ideas and images to convey a moving, in fact haunting, story of making the journey from being a girl to growing into womanhood. Actually, Missing Mama fascinates, an intriguing subject rendered in singular style.

Throughout this chronicle, Kubat describes one family member after another — her mom, Ernestine, whom she barely knew, grandmothers Emily and Mildred, Aunt Ethel and so on — in a role call of matriarchs who, each in her way, significantly helped the author toward self-affirmation.

Missing Mama, to be sure, does not lay out a bed of roses. Kubat has gone through her share of ups, downs and, for that matter, a few sideways. She has the ability to convey the good, the bad and the in-between — along with how you can’t really have one without the others — with matter of fact, conversational candor.

“I leapt empty-handed,” she writes, “into adulthood. I had no map to the landscape I wanted complete passage into. I was as eager as a newly freed slave faced with possibilities only dreamed about, but arriving without resource and know-how for obtaining. Despite warnings by grown-ups that the world would devour the simpleminded like me, I skipped through a new landscape which I designed as I went.”

Women will love this book for the natural ease with which it invites them into the bond of gender. Men, though, need not feel shut out, like it’s something the writer doesn’t intend for them to relate to. To the contrary, it’s a rare opportunity for males to access the female mind, heart and soul as Kubat renders her rich life experience entirely accessible.

Laughter, pain, somber, clear-eyed reflection and more are all there, shared with stark, unflinching frankness. And, frequently, there is wry humor that keeps her from taking herself too seriously.

A testament to the power of the human heart, Amoke Kubat’s Missing Mama: My Story of Loss, Sorrow and Healing, in short, is an outstanding accomplishment.


For more information about Missing Mama: My Story of Loss, Sorrow and Healing, go to

Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.