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Made By Mary is a wise, tragicomic exploration of the complex ties of family, with a little bit of magic thrown in.

— Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound

People are saying...

Made By Mary is a jaunty read about the way we live now. The way we get born, and reborn, and surrogately born. The way we make fun of our foibles and fads without losing sight of what is eternal and earnest: the desire to sustain the species, to love our family no matter how it came to be, no matter how it spirals into the infuriatingly silly or the inimitably sublime. To honor the mysteries of the universe even as we are imperfect in understanding them, yet always making efforts in that direction, hilariously, devoutly, with heart, and without cease.

— Antonya Nelson, author of Funny Once, Nothing Right, and Bound

A wry and compassionate novel about that most inextricable of relationships—the mother-daughter bond. In Mary, a jewelry-making, pot-growing, goddess-worshipping hippie, who claims that she birthed her daughter at Woodstock, Brown has created an indelible and unlikely heroine. About our tenderest sacrifices, and our fiercest desires, Made By Mary is a generous book, and a wise one. Brown understands that, between a daughter’s debt, and a mother’s due, there is a whole territory of resentment, love, fury, devotion, and mutual incomprehension.

— Katherine Min, author of Secondhand World

Excellent with dope deals, lovers lesbian and otherwise, surrogate motherhood and the unforgettable character of crystal-toting, never-grow-up Mary, Laura Catherine Brown’s Made By Mary is deeply moving. The repercussions of Woodstock have never been so wisely and vividly examined, nor the spectacle of maternal love sonogramed so well between generations.

— Terese Svoboda, author of Tin God, Bohemian Girl, and Pirate Talk or Mermalade

A suspenseful and surprising book filled with magic, mothers and daughters unusually entwined in a search for new life; all told in a believable voice, with precisely conveyed detail, and dialogue which conjures up a plethora of characters searching for love.

— Sheila Kohler, author of Dreaming for Freud, Once We Were Sisters, and Cracks

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Desire, Desperation, and Mother-Daughter Family Planning—What Could Go Wrong?

When Mary and Ann agree to a surrogacy partnership everything goes awry. Ann, a pre-school teacher, is desperate for the children she physically can’t have. Mary, a 50-year-old pagan jeweler, hopes to make amends for years of maternal neglect. Together, they plunge into the expensive, morally complex world of reproductive technology and an intimacy neither they, nor Ann’s husband, Joel, is prepared for. Financially hard-pressed, Joel goes behind Ann’s back and agrees to help Mary grow a marijuana crop in her attic. Ann struggles with the rigors and enforced togetherness of the reproductive regime. And Mary’s delight in being a “bountiful earth mother” is offset by the physical ordeal of bearing multiple fetuses. The stakes escalate as the police start sniffing around the grow house, a pagan ritual goes tragically awry, and the pregnancy becomes more perilous, forcing Ann, Joel, and Mary to confront the potentially calamitous consequences of pursuing their deepest desires.


Sharp and audacious, Laura Catherine Brown’s Made By Mary is a black comedy using magic realism to blow up myths about women, mothers, and motherhood, where even the most extreme situations are rendered with candor, intelligence, and empathy.

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