Can a mother be both loving and selfish? Caring and thoughtless? Deceitful and devoted? These are the questions that fuel psychologist Dr. Judy Rabinor’s quest to understand her ambivalence toward her mother.
While leading a seminar exploring the importance of the mother-daughter relationship, Dr. Judy Rabinor, an eating disorder expert, is blindsided by a memory of a childhood trauma. Realizing how this buried trauma has resonated through her life, she sets off to heal herself. The Girl in the Red Boots weaves together tales from Rabinor’s psychotherapy practice and her life, helping readers understand how painful childhood experiences can linger and leave emotional scars. In the process, Rabinor traces her own journey becoming a wounded healer and ultimately making peace with her mother, and herself.
Not a traditional self-help book outlining “steps” to reconcile or forgive one’s mother, The Girl in the Red Boots is a poignant memoir filled with hard-won life lessons, including the fact that it’s never too late to let go of hurts and disappointments and develop compassion for yourself—and even for your mother.
“In this engaging book, Rabinor reflects on the most complex, intense and important of all relationships, the one between mothers and daughters. She shares the story of her journey from pain and anger to acceptance and gratitude and explores the journeys of other mothers and daughters too. Rabinor's professional work with eating disorders has given her a unique vantage point on these most timeless of stories. Her book is candid, fresh and inspiring.”
—Mary Pipher, author of Women Rowing North and Reviving Ophelia
“The complex relationship between mothers and daughters is brought vividly to life as Rabinor, a psychologist who specializes in mother-daughter relationships, weaves together stories from her office and her life. As she helps others, she sorts out a lifetime of her own unresolved feelings. A riveting read that reminds us that parenting is fragile, love is always flawed and it's never too late to understand ourselves and our mothers.”
—Jane Goldberg, author of The Dark Side of Love
“Mother loss comes in many different forms, as Judy Rabinor explores in this affecting story of the fractured, flawed mother-daughter relationship that entangled her for decades. As a long-time psychotherapist, Rabinor is an expert on grief and healing. As a daughter, she longed for a deeper connection with a mother whose imperfect love, ultimately, left her with valuable gifts and insights to share. Both of those threads make The Girl in the Red Boots a unique and valuable contribution in the bereavement field.”
—Hope Edelman, New York Times best-selling author of Motherless Daughters, Motherless Mothers, and The Aftergrief
“I applaud Judy Rabinor for giving women permission to examine their mother-daughter relationships. Through sharing and weaving her own mother-daughter story with those of clients, Judy explains how we can forgive hurtful and hindering imperfections and re-story painful experiences with love and compassion. This book shows it is never too late to widen our lens and grow through healing our childhood wounds.”
—June Alexander, PhD, author of A Collaborative Approach to Eating Disorders
“The Girl with the Red Boots is a treasure. Judy Rabinor is a gifted storyteller, an expert clinician to whom anyone with any sense would trust their loved ones or themselves, and a wise woman. By listening carefully and compassionately to her patients, her own feelings, and, yes, her mother, Judy weaves the notes of these characteristics and her increasingly clear, increasingly meaningful reminiscences into a whole narrative that makes the sum of the parts an authentic gift to us, the readers. This is a book that sings with personal growth, cross-generational love, and contagious hope.”
—Michael P. Levine, PhD, author and Professor Emeritus, Kenyon College
“Dr. Rabinor’s impeccable storytelling ability makes for a riveting journey as she pivots between complex client cases and the processing of both ordinary and extraordinary moments in her own life. The memoir also provides non-clinicians with a beautiful mode for holding seemingly contradictory feelings about loved ones; her compassionate authenticity normalizes and celebrates this reality of the human experience.”
—Katie Rickel, PhD, CEO of Structure House
“A poignant and unique mother-daughter story full of revelation. As she helps her patients to heal, this talented writer and therapist heals herself and gives us the ability to do the same.”
—Deborah Burns, author of Saturday’s Child
About the Author:
Judith Ruskay Rabinor, PhD, is a clinician, author, writing coach, speaker, and workshop leader. In addition to her New York City private psychotherapy practice, she offers remote consultations for writers, clinicians and families. She has published dozens of articles for both the public and professionals and has authored two books, A Starving Madness: Tales of Hunger, Hope and Healing (Gurze Books, 2002) and Befriending Your Ex After Divorce: Making Life Better for You, Your Ex and Yes, Your Ex! (New Harbinger Publications, 2012). A sought-after speaker and workshop leader, Judy speaks at national and international mental health conferences and runs workshops at spas (including Canyon Ranch), colleges and universities (including Harvard University Continuing Education), and retreat centers such as the Esalon Institute, California. She resides in New York City.