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Things My Mother Never Told Me [Paperback]

Blake Morrison
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 July 2003
In his masterpiece of family literature, And When Did you Last See Your Father?, Blake Morrison's mother appears as an intriguing but mostly silent figure. This is her startling and touching story - and a son's search to discover the truth about the remarkable Kerry girl who qualified as a doctor in Dublin in 1942, worked in British hospitals throughout the war, and then reinvented herself again to adapt to a quieter post-war family life. At the heart of the book there's a passionate wartime love affair, seen through the frank, funny, furious letters his parents wrote during their courtship. It evokes a surprising picture of life and love in WWII. From the obstacles the lovers faced, to their moments of hilarity and joy Things My Mother Never Told Me is a revealing and poignant anatomy of family conflict, love, war, and finally marriage. Kim Morrison emerges quietly, magically from the shadows, a determined heroine for our times.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (3 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099440725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099440727
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 252,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The impact of Blake Morrison’s memoir And When Did You Last See Your Father was considerable: in prose that combined lucidity and beauty with uncompromising honesty, Morrison granted the reader an insight into a family drama quite unlike anything we had encountered before--a virtual classic of literature about the family. In that book, Morrison’s mother was presented as a shadowy, usually silent figure; in Things My Mother Never Told Me, we are given her story, and it’s every bit as fascinating as anything in the earlier book. As before, the central themes of the new book concern secrets, and the slow unfolding of an (often painful) truth. Morrison’s mother kept many things from him--not least the fact that she never told him that before becoming Kim Morrison, she had previously been Agnes O’Shea, daughter of sizeable Irish family. Morrison tells us he was only vaguely aware of his Irish relations--but that was only one of the many revelations awaiting him.

As he set out to find the facts behind this deceptively quiet Kerry girl who had worked as a doctor in Forties Dublin (and subsequently in British hospitals during the war), he discovered that she had totally reinvented her personality. But the seemingly conventional housewife and mother she had elected to become was only part of the story. We are told of an all-consuming love affair during the war; we are given a strong and vivid portrait of everyday life in the hospitals and RAF training camps of the period (where Morrison’s father told the pilots of the dangers of venereal disease); and (most of all) we are taken into the world of a remarkable woman; Kim Morrison is an unsung heroine of a time increasingly distant from our own world.

Whatever our own relationships with our parents, it’s impossible to avoid identifying with Morrison’s candid and carefully structured memoir; the graceful prose involves us ever more in a narrative that has all the grip of a superior piece of fiction.--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"[Morrison's] prose has the diamond cut of a poet's eye, and his story is suffused with warmth and longing-he has brought [his mother] vividly to life in an outstanding work of family literature" (Independent)

"Honest, funny and touching, this is a loving tribute from a son to his mother" (Sunday Mirror)

"Morrison constructs the book beautifully, as always... Fine writing and expert editing...with Morrison's usual virtues of unsentimental observation and expert storytelling" (Sunday Times)

"A marvellous example of what a zen-like act of sustained attention can do to honour and illuminate the ordinary... It has a universality" (Evening Standard)

"A scintillating read... Not only a fine evocation of the period, but also a fascinating study of a marriage" (GQ)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to the past 6 Nov 2009
this book is brilliant and as my mother came from the same area and was born around the same time I could identify so easily with the character, it gave an insight as to people lived at the time and how differnt life could become. Lovely to read some history and names I could identify with. Definately worth reading!!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 12 Feb 2003
I was absorbed by this book. It is a love story on two levels; the first being the tale of the author's parents, and the second (and most touching) being the love between a mother and son. Mr Morrison is very honest in this book, it must have been painful for him to write and I found it a poignant read. I have ordered his book "And when did you last see your father" and am looking forward to reading it soon.
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55 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellence in a couple of hundred pages 17 Oct 2003
The scene opens up in the chaos of World War II, Blake Morrison didnt know that his mother was keeping secrets from him...When she died, he discovered numerous letters written between his mother and father. Frankly, they were not at all what he had expected! Blake discovers that his parents relationship was difficult and that his mother changed a lot during that time. His mother changed her name firstly and then her religion! The whole story revolves around Blake and how he went onto discover the truth about his mother and father...and some other characters...It is a page turner, the reader wants to read on and on, never stopping, it is a classic book, but sometimes gets boring. Overall, it deserves a round of applause!
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5.0 out of 5 stars best book 14 May 2013
By suebee
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was one of the best I've ever read, gripping from start to finish and I didn't want it to end
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