Grandmotherland: Exploring the Myths and Realities

Judith Edwards takes us on a journey through ‘Grandmotherland’. A land full of myth, where stereotypes and memes jostle with reality. She questions what we think of when we speak of grandmothers: an apple-cheeked granny knitting in her rocker or a monstrous grandma in wolf skin?

Dr Edwards looks at the stories – those carried down through fairy tales, family history, and legend and those of women living today. She invites you to consider what it takes to be a grandmother and how the role has evolved. It is not a ‘how to’ book but rather a book to ‘smash a few preconceptions and give us a more nuanced view’. Edwards extends the ideas about the role of the grandmother and the intergenerational patterns which affect how it is experienced. Internationally and interculturally informed, Edwards links to the internal psychological experience of grannyhood as well as the external factors at play: personality, culture, family history, and so much more.

As the cost of childcare continues to skyrocket, the lure of the grandmother childminder becomes ever stronger but what of the toll on grandma? Fractured relationships are commonplace but what does a grandmother do when she is frozen out? Grandmotherland: Exploring the Myths and Realities examines every facet of grannyhood: the meanings, reasons, and possibilities behind the myths, memes, and realities experienced by women the world over. Written for those living in Grandmotherland, those ready to embark on the journey, and those who have chosen against or been barred from travelling. This is a book for all of you to enjoy, as well as sparking ideas for those of you in the fields of psychoanalysis, social work, cultural sociology, anthropology, and more.


Reviews and Endorsements

This is an area ripe for exploration.
Hilary Mantel

Wow! ... I found I romped through it, fascinated by finding so many pleasant and painful representations of myself and stimulated by those who had found grandmotherdom a quite different realm from my own. As for flavour, it reminds me of my grandmother's butterscotch, kept locked in a cupboard, definitely delicious but never enough ...
Juliet Hopkins, Ph.D , former ACP consultant child psychotherapist and author of An Independent Mind

This wise book is filled with wonderful stories, some disturbing and many touching and inspiring, all blended seamlessly with deep reflections on their meaning for human evolution and development. It is beautifully written too.
Anne Alvarez, Ph.D, MACP, Consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist

I cannot think of any child, parent, or grandparent who would not be utterly gripped by this extremely original and enlightening book, written with such warmth and wisdom. Dr Judith Edwards has made a truly great contribution to family psychology.
Professor Brett Kahr, Senior Fellow, Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, London, and Honorary Director of Research, Freud Museum London

A remarkable wide-ranging study of the meaning of grandmotherhood across the centuries and across many cultures. Judith Edwards draws on literature, folk tales, anthropology, psychoanalysis, and a variety of personal accounts of relationships with grandmothers and of becoming grandmothers in turn. It is also an unsettling read, as it aims to get beyond the familiar myths of idealised and demonised grandmothers, to disturb our too-easy resort to stereotypes. It will repay its readers with unexpected and stimulating insights and Edwards’ characteristic pleasure in bringing together highly diverse ways to understand human lives.
Margaret Rustin, Honorary Consultant Child Psychotherapist, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust