Thursday, March 20, 2008

Julie's Review: Things I Want My Daughters To Know

Summary: Noble (The Reading Group) hits her stride in her tearjerker fourth novel. Before Barbara Forbes, a mother of four, succumbs to terminal cancer, she leaves words of wisdom for her four daughters in the form of letters to each of them. In the year following Barbara's death, her daughters draw strength from her words and from each other as they move forward with their lives. Lisa, the eldest, is advised to "let someone look after [her]" for a change. Jennifer, "fragile and hard to reach," struggles with an unraveling marriage. Free-spirited Amanda is thrown for a loop by a family secret, and teenager Hannah, experiencing her first taste of rebellion, is reminded that she still has a lot of growing up to do. Though Barbara's life-is-short aphorisms are nothing new, her sharp wit and distinctive voice is a nice complement to the four nuanced stories of coping with death. Weekly

Review: Things I Want My Daughters to Know: A Novel I received this Advance Readers Edition copy as a part of's Early Reviewers group and I'm glad I did. I had never heard of Elizabeth Noble before and was surprised she was a British author for some reason. The notion of the book isn't anything new, a mother leaving behind words of wisdom for her daughters but what is new to me was the way it was written. Not only did the mother, Barbara, write letters to each daughter but she kept a journal during her illness. I enjoyed the way Ms. Noble incorporated the journal into the story, it flowed into what was going on instead of interrupting it. While most of the life lessons she writes about in her journal are pretty standard, it's how they change her daughter's lives that had a few twists I did not see coming. I like how you saw each daughter change during the course of the year but yet remain true to the initial character you were introduced to.

The characters were flawed, real and not stereotypical, which meant I could see parts of myself in 3 out of the 4 daughters. This is refreshing because for me, it's either you identify with one and not the others. Besides Barbara being the moral compass, I also felt that Mark was a major centerpiece to the story, he was the rock.

If you are in the mood for a book about family, growing up even if you are a grown up, then pick up this book; I don't think you will be disappointed.

I will definitely be checking out Elizabeth Noble's other books and look forward to her next novel after this one.

Final Take: 4/5


Anonymous ,  March 24, 2008 at 8:48 PM  

I've heard that her book, The Reading Group, is a really good one.

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