How would you say goodbye to those you love most in the world?– This question, as asked on the back of the book, is what Barbara must answer as she prepares for her eminent death from cancer. She is leaving behind 4 daughters – Lisa who is a commitment-phobe, Jennifer who is too proud to admit she’s in a bad marriage & too proud to ask for help, Amanda the world traveller who is constantly running away, and Hannah, the baby, not yet 16. Then there’s Mark, the second husband who is 10 years younger than his dying wife & trying to come to grips with what this is doing to his family.
Indeed, how do you say goodbye when you know that the end is near? I think Elizabeth Noble did a fantastic job at proposing a plausible answer to this question. Barbara decides to keep a journal, detailing things she wants her daughters to know after she has died. She also writes letters to each of her children, which they receive on the day of her funeral, along with gifts for the 2 oldest daughters. Jennifer’s gift is her mother’s journal, which she reads, then makes copies of for her sisters. Will the journal help the girls deal with their mother’s death? Will they learn what their mother couldn’t teach them while she was still alive?
I got this book as part of a book ring from the Book Club Forum and to the others in the ring I say “Get ready for a great read!” I expected to be incredibly saddened by this book – in fact others have told me that they were reduced to tears. It didn’t have that affect on me, but I did think that it was a brilliant book! I come from a family of 4 children (3 girls, 1 boy) and I saw so much of my sisters & I in the characters. Happily, my mother is still alive, but there were some definite parallels to our family. I found that because of this, I related to the characters & found myself rooting for them, hoping that they would find their feet after their Mother’s death.
I thought that Things I want my daughters to know was an excellent book & one that I would heartily recommend!