Pub Date: May 7, 2024

Author: Carol Weis and Margaret Henley

Imagine being privy to the diaries of both a 16-year-old girl and her mom! Based on their two-year journal project, Wake Up, Maggie! Go Away, Mom! invites readers into the life of a single mom and her teenage daughter, ushering them through the tangle of feelings that come with this familial bond. The dual entries, peppered with poems by both authors, grant a firsthand look at flashbacks of Carol’s recovery from alcohol addiction and subsequent divorce, her imprudent dive into a long-distance romance, and her daily refrains from wringing her daughter’s neck, as she dangles precariously from the edge of a menopausal cliff. You’ll see her daughter caught in the confusion of school and friends, longing to launch her hovering mom into outer space, who begins her senior year with the attacks of 9/11, trying desperately to hold her fear at bay. Moving from one voice to another, readers eavesdrop on their frequent power struggles, chronic doubts and fears, and humorous ways they wrestle with the grief of letting each other go as they re-negotiate their relationship and move on with their separate lives.


“If you have ever had a teenage daughter, or even been a teenage daughter, this book will bring you laughter, heartache, and everything in between. Carol and Maggie struggled to redefine their relationship as they moved through the difficult menopause and high school years and they did it with honesty and grace, somehow remembering to center the things they both loved and finding their way back to each other again and again. This book is a triumph of love and a testament to the ties between mothers and daughters.”

—Kari O’Driscoll, author of Happy, Healthy Teens: Why Focusing on Relationships Works and Founder of The SELF Project.

Wake up, Maggie! Go Away, Mom! offers a fascinating duet of adolescence and middle age—hormones, relationships, money woes, college decisions and empty nest anxiety—with alternating notes of humor, anger, and—always—unquestioned love. Mother and daughter co-authors Carol Weis and Margaret Henley fight hard and reconcile, bonding over their shared interest in movies and cooking. Their bracing honesty and emotional curiosity make this a welcome read for anyone who has ever lived through adolescence.”

—Caroline M. Grant, co-director, Sustainable Arts Foundation

“Carol and her daughter Maggie share their combined story in raw and unflinching journal entries from the end of Maggie’s high school years to the start of college. We learn how they experience the same events from their different perspectives, especially fights over the internet, and we read what each person is struggling with in their individual lives—loneliness, friends, love interest—and how that affects their relationship. I was immersed in this story as someone who has sent her children out into the world and was brought back to how sad I was when my daughters left. The events and emotions were familiar and validating, especially the love between mother and daughter. If you’ve said goodbye to a child or are anticipating it, this story will resonate with you. Even when we feel we are alone, we are in good company.”

—Morgan Baker, author of Emptying the Nest: Getting Better at Goodbyes