"She Called Me Baby" by Vylar Kaftan
The main character, Baby, is the only child, and clone, of famous model and artist Maria-Danae. Baby’s real name is the same as her mother’s and she has struggled since adolescence to create a separate identity from her mother. As the story opens, Maria-Danae is dying and Baby’s agent urges her to visit her mother one last time.
Tantalizing bits of Baby and Maria-Danae’s history together, as well as their remarkable careers apart, are doled out at perfect intervals to entice the reader on. Excerpts from Baby’s best-selling memoir lay out her side of the story, but Maria-Danae’s feelings are kept to the very end. More tension than I would have thought possible is built as Baby gets closer and closer to actually seeing her mother again.
Kaftan illustrates the inherent conflicts in a mother-daughter relationship. To some extent, all daughters become their mothers. All fight to make their legacy their own. Kaftan captures the essence of Maria-Danae and Baby’s complicated relationship. She crafts it into a universal story that transcends her characters. “She Called Me Baby” is an excellent story that I highly recommend checking out.