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Who Killed Mom?: A Delinquent Son's Meditation on Family, Mortality, and Very Tacky Candles Paperback – Mar 21 2011

9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Greystone Books (March 21 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553658337
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553658337
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #212,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Who Killed Mom? more closely resembles a poignant, darkly humorous but very loving memoir of [Steve Burgess'] parents, his mom especially, and the kids who had to let her go, not an easy thing to do. I found it hard to let her go too." (Toronto Star 2011-05-06)

"Not only are there no murders, but Burgess has managed to pull off a memoir that dwells not on dysfunction and disaster but on the everyday experiences of a refreshingly happy and ordinary family...Burgess has a way with one-liners, and it comes in handy as he gets ready to face the death of his beloved mother. As they say, you have to laugh." (Winnipeg Free Press 2011-04-16)

"This is no treacly memoir. Like a Garrison Keillor of the Canadian prairies, Burgess writes funny, unfiltered observations, anecdotes and character descriptions that flow naturally and make for an engaging story of his life to date. His first book is a great effort after almost 20 years in the freelance trenches, a very funny book worthy of a Leacock Medal for Humour." (D. Grant Black Globe & Mail 2011-04-19)

"It's a heartfelt, but funny, portrait of the author's mother...Burgess writes with candor and humour about his family and their circle. He's also merciless when revealing his own faults." (Uptown Magazine 2011-04-21)

"One would hardly expect to guffaw through a memoir that examines the aging of a parent, her declining health, her loss of independence, and inevitably, her death. But such is the case with Who Killed Mom? A Delinquent Son's Meditation on Family, Mortality and Very Tacky Candles, author Steve Burgess's sobering -- and yes, hilarious -- new book, as indicated by the somewhat cheeky subtitle."

(Prairie Books NOW 2011-09-01)

"...a poignant, loving and darkly humourous memoir."

(Toronto Star 100 Books of 2011 2011-12-03)

"In this witty and compassionate debut, Canadian broadcaster Burgess examines the life and death of his mother, Joan, and his own supposed role in her demise...Burgess honestly highlights the great ruthlessness of familial love, and the power of humor and storytelling to cope with life and death." (Publisher's Weekly 2012-04-16)

"A touching -- if decidedly and deliberately offbeat -- family memoir...Expect to encounter laughs and tugs on the heartstrings in pretty much equal amounts." (Booklist 2012-03-05)

"Burgess's tale is part memoir, part autobiography, and part who-done-it and all-over fantastic...a fine work of serious literary value." (San Francisco Book Review 2012-06-29)

About the Author

Steve Burgess is a writer and broadcater whose honours include two Canadian National Magazine awards. Burgess is the former host of @the end, a nationally broadcast talk show on CBC Newsworld, and a frequent CBC Radio guest host. Burgess' stories have been featured in Reader's Digest editions around the world, as well as Maclean's, the Globe & Mail, and other publications. Who Killed Mom? is his first book.

Inside This Book

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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dale on April 21 2011
Format: Paperback
From the first time I read an article written by Steve Burgess back in 1994, I was hooked. I remember feeling certain that we were embarking on the discovery of Canada's answer to Dave Barry. So when I heard he was releasing a book, my first reaction included expectations that may have been borderline unfair. After all, it is his first. But as lofty as they were, apparently those unfair expectations may not have actually been high enough!

Going beyond his usual razor wit and inimitable observations, Who Killed Mom also has a level of depth and humility that is refreshing in today's 'me-first' culture. Funny and tearful, heartbreaking and uplifting, crushing and hopeful, this is much more than a simple narrative of a loving mother and the effect she had on the family she raised and loved. It also delves into the question of what makes us who we are, the heartbreak of the ultimate goodbye and how the bitter-sweet pain of the circle of life can provide an ironic sense of strength and inspiration to carry on. A beautiful, compelling, hilarious biography/memoir, it is a must read for anyone who has ever had the experience of being part of a family.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barbara on April 15 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a book that will leave you feeling good inside. Mr Burgess tells the life story of a remarkable woman, his mother, through humourous, kind, and often insightful memories. Courageously, he shares many intimate episodes from his own adolescence. These stirred up a lot of my own memories of being a teenager. I could totally relate. I found myself laughing and crying along in this son's tribute to the person who would be the most important woman in his life. Loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Book Club Diva on April 22 2012
Format: Paperback
Through this wonderfully engaging story we meet Joan Burgess, whose life journey reflected the times through which she lived. A heartfelt, funny portrait of this minister's wife, homemaker, mother, teacher, and family and community lynchpin. More than just a good read, the characters in this memoir stay with you. A must read for any book club. Don't be fooled by the name: this would make a great Mother's Day gift!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zee on Sept. 23 2012
Format: Paperback
This book touched me in so many ways - being of the same vintage as the author, and from the prairies, I could relate well to many of his stories and how we were. Mom was the unsung hero, sorely missed when gone. The book took me from outright laughter to near-tears. The author's wit is sharp and full of surprises; his reflections and musings are insightful and wise. Thank you Steve Burgess!
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Format: Paperback
Although we share the same name, we live 1200 miles apart, in different countries, and judging from the ancestors he mentions, any common family member is more generations back than I know. Nonetheless, Steve Burgess''s tale is in ways uncannily similar to my own experience in having recently lost a parent to Parkinson's. As I read through this engaging narrative that evoked by parts both laughter and heartbreak, I came to understand that the similarities I saw will be recognizable to most with a beloved parent that is ailing or deceased. With uncommon humanity, Burgess speaks of events that visit all of us all too soon. It is the shared humanity between families that shines out the brightest here.
I did laugh; I did cry; and I do recommend this book to anyone with a family.
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