Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review: Letter To My Daughter by George Bishop (and a Louisiana Feature!)

About the Book:

Dear Elizabeth,

It’s early morning and I’m sitting here wondering where you are, hoping you’re all right.
A fight, ended by a slap, sends Elizabeth out the door of her Baton Rouge home on the eve of her fifteenth birthday. Her mother, Laura, is left to fret and worry—and remember. Wracked with guilt as she awaits Liz’s return, Laura begins a letter to her daughter, hoping to convey “everything I’ve always meant to tell you but never have.”

In her painfully candid confession, Laura shares memories of her own troubled adolescence in rural Louisiana, growing up in an intensely conservative household. She recounts her relationship with a boy she loved despite her parents’ disapproval, the fateful events that led to her being sent away to a strict Catholic boarding school, the personal tragedy brought upon her by the Vietnam War, and, finally, the meaning of the enigmatic tattoo below her right hip.

Absorbing and affirming, George Bishop’s magnificent debut brilliantly captures a sense of time and place with a distinct and inviting voice. Letter to My Daughter is a heartwrenching novel of mothers, daughters, and the lessons we all learn when we come of age.

My Review:

This was a wonderfully written, beautiful, and insightful story about the relationship between a mother and daughter.

The format in which the story is told is different and made it so much more personal. It was written, literally, from a mother to her daughter. It followed that long time saying from when we were teenagers..."I'll never be a mom like my mother!"

This book threw me through a whirlwind of emotions. I think it's because as a mom and once a teenager, it's impossible NOT to connect to this work. I felt for the teen and for the mom. I will say that this book just FEELS so intimate; almost like you shouldn't be reading into such a bonding moment between the two. BUT, this is what keeps you going! It was just beautiful!

I have to say that I was fascinated that a man wrote this book. Maybe, because I never expected a man to "get" the relationship and feelings portrayed. I actually have a guest post from George on that subject coming up a little later. He'll tell us more about that.

And to close this up...I'm not sure how many of you are swayed by reviews to go in search of a book. But, if I've ever wanted to be persuasive I hope I've done that here. I truly hope that mom's (and daughter's) will search out this book and read it.

And as part of my Louisiana Feature:

(sorry I'm working on a new cute badge!)

George lives in Louisiana so I posed the question to him:

What do you love about living in Louisiana?

His answer: That's easy: the food. Can't beat it--the seafood, the gumbo, the jambalaya, the po-boys. That's one reason why I chose to make New Orleans my home when I moved back to the US after living overseas for so many years. All of Louisiana loves its food, of course, but that love seems to be most concentrated here in New Orleans.

**This ARC was provided to me from Random house free of charge as part of the Pump Up tour. All opinions are my own.


  1. I just loved this book as well. I am recommending it to everyone!

  2. Thanks for the wonderful review. This book has received so many great reviews during the tour, and almost everyone comments on how a man captured the mother/daughter relationship so well.

    Thanks again. I'm glad you enjoyed it.


  3. Thanks for stopping in! I did LOVE this book, and will be telling others about it.

  4. I just started reading this book last night and I am loving it. GREAT review!

  5. Dear Kris,

    Thanks for your nice comments on my book. You touched on something in your review that I hadn't heard mentioned before, which is the intimate tone that the letter format sets up. It's like you're reading someone else's letter, as you say. At the same time, the "you" in the letter almost becomes the "you" of the reader. I can't say I did this consciously, but I believe that's also how the intimacy that you speak of is achieved.

    I'm not sure where you blog from, but I hope to do some readings in Cajun country soon.

    All the best,

  6. Hey George! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog! I really enjoyed this one so much! Please do let me know where you'll be so I can see if anything's close!