Everyone wanted a fun, bubbly mother like mine. Everyone wanted a happy family like ours. Picnics, parties and practical jokes. Everyone except me. I found the whole thing mortifying.
The truth is, I was terrified of my bubbly, popular, fun-loving mother. Even as an adult.
I sat with Mum as she was dying of cancer. And I felt nothing but numb. No sadness. No grief.
Grief caught up with me eventually—fifteen years later in a memoir writing workshop. I wrote a story about Mum dying. That story brought her back to life. Writing it brought me back to life too. It opened the dam on a lifetime of stories I needed to tell.
Unlikely Stories of a Perfect Childhood is an intimate of portrait of the difficult relationship between an outgoing, flamboyant mother and her serious, solitary oldest daughter. It’s a personal, unflinching and often humorous examination of a bewildering childhood. It gives a child’s-eye view of an intense and controlling environment of Catholic family life in small-town New Zealand in the 1960s and 70s. The book features the author’s sketches of domestic icons and personal memories from her childhood.
These stories will captivate anyone who suspects they were switched at birth and grew up in the wrong family. It will inspire anyone seeking closure and healing for difficult relationships with their parents—even if their parents are no longer alive.