The novel begins with a letter from Barbara to her daughters. Barbara wrote the letter while she was dying of cancer, and it gives instructions on planning her funeral. We then meet Barbara’s four daughters. Lisa, the oldest, is a commitment-phobe. Jennifer is married but terribly unhappy in her marriage, and is facing a decision to have kids with a man she isn’t sure she loves anymore. Amanda is a wanderer, traveling around the world – even while her mom is dying. And Hannah, the 15 year old, rebels against the loss of her mother.
The novel tells the story of these daughters, as well as Mark, Barbara’s second husband and the girls’ step-father, throughout the 12 months following Barbara’s death. The letters from Barbara are combines with stories of love, revelations, and secrets. Each daughter is touched differently by the letters, and we are able to follow the journey of each girl during this year.
This novel really touched me. I am very close with my mother, and honestly don’t know what I would do without her. She is one of my closest friends, and I feel so lucky to have her. There were several instances where I totally lost it and found tears streaming down my face – because I really felt like I could relate to what was happening in the girls’ lives. It is interesting how you can read a book that truly speaks to you in a certain time of your life.
I love how Barbara was portrayed – beautiful, upbeat, fun, quirky, and outgoing – with amazing and heartfelt advice. She seemed very wise, and gave advice by telling of her own experiences and how she learned what she did. She was not perfect, which the daughters learn throughout the course of the book. She had her own weaknesses, secrets, and insecurities – she was human. The daughters learn to accept all parts of their mom – both the good and the bad.
This book really struck a chord with me, and I highly recommend this novel to all moms and daughters. In fact, I’m excited to announce another giveaway!! Nicole from HarperCollins has offered to giveaway 5 copies of Things I Want My Daughters to Know!!! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post – that’s it!! Be sure to leave an email address with your comment – if you don’t, your comment will be deleted and you won’t be entered (I HAVE to have a way to contact you!!) The contest will run until May 14, and I’ll pick a winner on Friday, May 15!!! I am a little late on getting this out for Mother’s Day, but it’ll be a great novel at any time of the year. This contest is open to US residents only, and no PO Boxes, please.
Good luck and happy reading!!