"The stories in Know the Mother are like jewels—glittering, finely wrought and worthy of careful appraisal. Here is fiction that not only examines the everyday messiness of living, but the painful miracle of birth and the beautiful mystery of death with equal insight. Cooper's elegant, wise, and energetic collection is about what it means to be a woman, a mother, a sister, a wife, a child, and most of all, human." 

Angela Flournoy, The Turner House

While a mother can be defined as a creator, a nurturer, a protector—at the center of each mother is an individual who is attempting to manage her own fears, desires, and responsibilities in different and sometimes unexpected ways. In Know the Mother, author Desiree Cooper explores the complex archetype of the mother in all of her incarnations. In a collage of meditative stories, women—both black and white—find themselves wedged between their own yearnings and their roles as daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and wives.

"Desiree Cooper's Know the Mother is a collection of thirty vignettes that examine how migrations changed the fabric of families and particularly motherhood. Young women had to make their own way – to forge for themselves the demarcation between home and the outside world, what was expected of them, and what goals they had to live up to.  Motherhood was no longer cast in the direct shadow of grandmothers, and mothers-in-law, but rather shaped by the social and cultural biases of racism and sexism through which they navigated, seemingly alone.  If motherhood was the icing on the cake, she held together what was under that icing.  Should the mother remain unchanged, a fixer or a giver commanded merely by her role?"

Colleen J. McElroy, Blood Memory