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Things I Want My Daughters to Know: A Novel Paperback – January 20, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
What Noble does extremely well, though, is develop believable characters. In each of the daughters I could see shades of myself and how I dealt with the grief of losing my own mom. Lisa, the oldest, is "too strong for her own good" and afraid to let anyone love her. Jennifer, "proud and intent on emotional independence," strangles herself in love relationships that have long run their course. Amanda, the free spirit, uses travel as a means of escaping the real world. And Hannah, the teen who loses her mother far too soon, struggles to become a woman without her maternal role model to guide her.
In summation, "Things I Want My Daughters to Know" is a good book to pass a lazy afternoon, but it's not one I'd put on my list of all-time favorites.
The book opens on the day of Barbara's funeral, and so the reader gets to know Barbara only through her writings. The story is told from varying perspectives in turn, including that of Mark in addition to each daughter. Initially, everyone seems to be coping as well as can be expected with Barbara's death (which was anticipated, after all) but it doesn't take long for the delicate surface to begin to give way. Each daugther must wrestle with her own demons, negotiating her own way without her beloved mother for advice and support. Eventually--and with the help of Mark, who plays a crucial role--the family is able to survive their various conflicts and emerge on the dawn side of grief. In the end, the message of this book is a simple one, if a somewhat cliched one: that love conquers all, whether it is a mother's love for her daughters, the love between sisters, or the romantic love that binds two people together forever. Overall, a worthwhile read.
If you're looking for a quick read that will make you want to call your mom immediately, this book is it. Several scenes are powerful, including one in which the mother reflects on the four days she gave birth to them. The letters written from Barbara, the mother, are often reflective and more honest than she had been with her daughters previously.
I took issue with this: Though the book is emotional, it feel extremely plot-driven, and much of the interior monologue feels contrived. Every character, in the span of a year after Barbara's death, goes through some extreme incident. In the pages of the book, you're given death of a central character (to start off with), a marriage proposal, a car accident, an affair, a horrible marriage turned good again, a surprise about the true paternity of one of the daughters, a drunken argument that stops communication for a few months, a pregnancy, and a new boyfriend for one of the daughters who just happens to fit in perfectly and fall in love with her immediately. And somehow, after everything, the entire book wraps up perfectly in the end, with everyone feeling somehow resolved about what has happened since the death of Barbara.Read more ›
I plodded through this which was disappointing as potentially it was a great idea and as I have said already tackled sympathetically. Barbara has a terminal illness and has so much that she wants to share with her four daughters, knowing she is leaving them when individually they still have so much growing up to do. That part of the story worked well for me but I felt let down somehow by the rest which was seen from the points of view of her daughters.
Barbara is very much aware that her time is running out fast and that she will not be able to share the ups and downs of her daughters life's and give them the first hand support they require. She decides therefore I felt in an extremely brave move to write her four daughters individual letters. Each daughter deals with the death and the shocks they receive when reading their letters in a different way, but all with a mixture of anger and sadness before acceptance. Lisa the oldest in her mid-thirties is frightened of commitment, then there is Jennifer married but unhappily hiding this from the rest of the family.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love it... I cried and laughed and was sad when I was reading the last page....Published 15 months ago by Amanda Bailey
"Then Amanda held out both hands to Jennifer and Hannah. Hannah grabbed onto Lisa, and Lisa gave her other hand to Amanda."??? Read morePublished 23 months ago by Leigh West
This was a great read and I found it hard to put it down. Great story about sensitive issues that was very well written.Published 23 months ago by Jan Ingram
Having two daughter's myself I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I don't, however, agree with some of the decisions Barbara made.Published on March 22, 2014 by Barb
If you have grown daughters this book is very touching. A very enjoyable read! It was different from other books I normally read.Published on February 21, 2014 by vicki
I was researching this title to see if it already exist because I am considering writing a book something like this! I though it was really outstanding! Read morePublished on June 1, 2013 by Stephanie Upton
As a mother of three daughters I related to many of the stories. Also, gave me thoughts that I should keep in mind as I grow older.Published on March 11, 2013 by readreadread
I picked this up at my local library for some (hopefully) light reading. Although the subject material (the death of a loved one ) is quite heavy, the book was easy, quick and... Read morePublished on December 26, 2010 by DayleyA