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If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, a Daughter, a Reporter's Notebook Hardcover – April 20, 2010
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“In this brave, funny, deeply moving memoir, [Rosman] shows readers how, even after death, love endures.” (People (3 ½ out of 4 stars))
“Rosman’s bittersweet search for meaning is compelling and at times hilarious…. These stories are about Suzy but also about a daughter whose compassionate (not to mention labor-intensive) reporting is her way of coping. They memorialize a woman who, even if you didn’t’ know her, begs to be remembered.” (Elle)
“More than mere memoir.... Rosman expertly counterbalances the bleak and grinding arc of her mother’s cancer with an inspiring tale of her quietly extraordinary life, and does so with irreverent humor, bracing honesty and the storytelling savvy of a veteran reporter.” (Christopher Walton, Detroit Free Press)
“Katie Rosman has a great gift for articulating the yearnings of daughterhood and the mysteries of motherhood. Reading her moving tale of discovery, we can’t help but contemplate the things we have yet to learn about our own parents-and about ourselves.” (Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor The Last Lecture)
“Frank, funny, keenly reported, but also deeply moving, Rosman’s book journeys into that mysterious territory-the nature of family and the substance of love.” (Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief and The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup)
“After I picked up If You Knew Suzy, I couldn’t put it down. Katherine Rosman’s enthralling memoir presents a tender yet searching picture of a mother’s life, her death, and her lasting influence on her daughters.” (Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project)
“Rosman’s voice rings with truth, pain, and hard-won humor. . . . [A] bold, cathartic tale of a daughter’s search to find meaning in her mother’s death. She tells of her mother’s virtues and flaws with unvarnished honesty ... This book beats with a heart of its own.” (Janice Lee, author of The Piano Teacher)
“If Katherine Rosman’s detailed and heartfelt tribute to her mother doesn’t make you want to hug your own, I don’t know what will.” (Sloane Crosley, author of I Was Told There'd Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number?)
“How marvelous to sit beside a daughter exploring her mother’s life. If You Knew Suzy is about the joys of a family balanced by the heartbreaking complexities of death. Rosman is a dogged reporter whose eye for wonderful detail is enriched by the love and empathy of a devoted child.” (Isabel Gillies, author of Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story)
From the Back Cover
Faced with the loss of her mother, Suzy, to cancer at sixty, Wall Street Journal reporter Katherine Rosman longs to find answers to the questions that we all wrestle with after losing someone we love. So she does what she does best: she opens her notebook and starts investigating.
Thumbing through her late mother's address book, Rosman begins to discover a woman whose life was intricately connected to a host of characters her daughter hardly knew. Her reporting skills at the ready, she embarks on a cross-country odyssey, tracking down total strangers from whom she hopes to learn about a woman she once thought she couldn't know better. Venturing into the heart of some colorful communities, Rosman interviews friends and acquaintances of her mother's, as well as people whose relationships with her were more complex though no less potent—among them a former golf caddie, a legendary Pilates instructor, an eBay glass collector, and an immigrant doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. As Rosman attempts to fill in the blank spaces that may explain her mother's motivations and philosophies in building a life and in facing death, she comes to understand this woman as she never imagined she could.
Blending humor, honesty, and old-fashioned reporting, Rosman grapples with the bittersweet reality that sometimes we can't truly know someone until after she is gone. At once comforting, candid, and very funny, If You Knew Suzy is a heartfelt memoir against which readers can consider themselves and the lives of all those they love.
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There were moments in the book that were painfully hard for me to read. It was fresh and almost too close as I recalled my father’s recent death and what I went through as I watched him suffer and how I imagined his experience. Another perspective always gives you just that. Another way to look at a situation. Your life. The people whom you care about.
This is one of those memoirs that I simply could not put down and at first, while you think it might just be about sadness, about dying and death, it is about living, with many life lessons to share.
Rosman’s investigative approach is nothing short of brilliant.
How nice.............most of us have to work hard for a living. I found nothing remarkable about Suzy that merited a memoir.
The book was well written which simply says that Kathrine is a good author. She works for the Wall Street Journal and should possess those skills whithout having to publish a story about her deceased mother. It could be that I am biased to a degree having lost my own mother under distressing conditions as well and the book brought back some unresolved issues for me. Also, like Kate, I was pregnant when my mom died and it's an even more difficult thing for a woman to lose a mother while you are pregnant. It just is.
Aside from these things, I think Suzie was a priveleged, obsessive compulsive woman with excessive financial means and she lived a pretty boring life. I do hope however that Kate was able to work through all her unresolved issues.
That said, I devoured this book in one day. I found it an extremely compelling read often bringing tears to my eyes, but also making me laugh out loud more than once. There are a couple chapters that are skim-worthy, but mostly it was a very thought-provoking book.