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Things My Mother Never Told Me Paperback – 3 Jul 2003

3.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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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 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"[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

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If this book was available on Kindle it would have suited me me better. I have eyesight problems and 340 pages of small print is challenging. But it was a book group choice, with a time deadline, so I set myself a daily target and persevered.

I felt some affinity with the background. I lived in Ireland for a time; not long ago I discovered my mother's large and colourful Yorkshire family; my own family is a medical one; and I live near where the author's parents came from. So the book might have worked for me.

I'm not sure it did, but I can see why it was successful: a family history; lots of medical bits; some religion; the War; and Irishness. But you're spared the platitudinous "Cloggie (northern English) meets Paddy" theme: both the author's parents came from prosperous business families. I took the point that whilst today being of Irish origin is rather chic, but that was not always so, and I noted the author's point that "by definition being Irish meant that the O'Sheas must be poor". You also get some telling points on a mixed marriage between a Roman Catholic and a Protestant agnostic and accompanying prejudices, though these do not seem to have harmed the marriage.

But the problem with this book is that it is too wordy. It's not without a bit of humour, but the author lacks the light touch of McCarthy's Bar. I was not surprised to find that the author was Professor of Writing at Goldsmiths College. A veritable wordsmith. Indeed, the book is so lengthy, so full of prose that I was surprised that it was not at least on the long list for the Booker Prize. Perhaps it was.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not interested in a man who asks us to sympathise with both his and his father's philandering. He also doesn't build greatly upon his mother's letters, making this one of the weaker memoirs I've read. Moving swiftly on.
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Format: Paperback
My wife bought me this book on the basis that Tony Parsons is quoted on the front cover "The must read book of the year" I have always enjoyed Tony Parsons books so it was a logical purchase.

I have to say I really struggled with the first 100 pages and it took two or three attempts to get into the book - separated by months.

I did eventually get into the book and whilst I didn't find it a great read - I am interested enough to buy the book about his father if that is recommendation enough.

It is worth the effort to get into it.
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