I'm not sure I'd characterize Letter to My Daughtert as a mother-daughter story. It's kind of a "mother-was-a-daughter-once-too" story.
Laura and her daughter Elizabeth are going through the rough patch known as "adolescence," which can frequently be especially rough for the mother-daughter relationship. A particularly vehement argument - which we aren't told about in detail - sends Liz out of the house and into the night, taking her mother's car and her learner's permit. As the day goes on without any word from or about Liz, Laura tries to cope with her anxiety by writing a long, detailed letter to her daughter - one that she hopes will help Liz understand that her mother really was a teenager once too, and that perhaps will give her some idea of who Laura is and where she's coming from.
I have to be honest here: the premise of Letter to My Daughter just didn't work for me. I understand the motivation of a parent to want her teenage child to see her as an distinct person (I'm in the middle of parenting Teen #2), but that's not the teen's perspective. Sometimes younger children are very curious about their parents - usually in the context of what the parents' lives were like when they were the kids' age - but that seems to wear off for teens. It's painful to be on the receiving end of that, but in some respects it's developmental and not personal. Teens lose interest in knowing who their parents are because their energy is channeled into figuring out who they are; like a lot of adolescent characteristics, it's more about themselves than anyone else. (And having survived Teen #1, who's now in his mid-20's, I can say it does come back around eventually.) Laura seems to believe that if Liz reads this letter, Liz will see Laura better; I think she'll be disappointed, at least at this stage in Liz's life. If Liz re-reads the letter at, say, 21, it might accomplish that a little better.
Having said that, the story Laura tells of her own teen years is compelling on its own merits. She's growing up in small-town Louisiana during the Vietnam War years, discovering love and herself and that things will always change. She makes her mistakes, and she seems to have gained some insight from them over time. George Bishop did a remarkable job in telling this story through the first-person narration of a female character; I found the voice entirely convincing. I was less convinced by why the voice was telling this story.
I wanted to like this novella more than I did, but I appreciate that it gave me a lot to think about.