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22 March 2010

Book Tour and Review: Letter To My Daughter by George Bishop

Title: Letter To My Daughter
Author: George Bishop
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: February 16, 2010
Hardcover: 160 pages
ISBN: 978-0345515988
Genre: Fiction


About the Book:

Dear Elizabeth,

It’s early morning and I’m sitting here wondering where you are, hoping you’re all right.

A fight, ended by a slap, sends Elizabeth out the door of her Baton Rouge home on the eve of her fifteenth birthday. Her mother, Laura, is left to fret and worry—and remember. Wracked with guilt as she awaits Liz’s return, Laura begins a letter to her daughter, hoping to convey “everything I’ve always meant to tell you but never have.”

In her painfully candid confession, Laura shares memories of her own troubled adolescence in rural Louisiana, growing up in an intensely conservative household. She recounts her relationship with a boy she loved despite her parents’ disapproval, the fateful events that led to her being sent away to a strict Catholic boarding school, the personal tragedy brought upon her by the Vietnam War, and, finally, the meaning of the enigmatic tattoo below her right hip.

Absorbing and affirming, George Bishop’s magnificent debut brilliantly captures a sense of time and place with a distinct and inviting voice. Letter to My Daughter is a heartwrenching novel of mothers, daughters, and the lessons we all learn when we come of age.

My Review:

George Bishop takes on the task of writing a novel about mother-daughter relationships in his novel, Letter To My Daughter. Bishop does remarkably good job writing from the perspective of a mother and an adolescent girl. The premise of the story is fairly straightforward. One evening 15 year-old Elizabeth gets into an argument with her mother, Laura, culminating in Laura slapping Elizabeth resulting in Elizabeth running away. Laura, while waiting for her daughter to return turns to pen and paper and begins writing down everything she had always wanted to tell her daughter about being an adolescent, especially her own experiences as an adolescent. The letter Laura writes is masterfully written and Bishop receives high marks for this amazing part of the book. The issue I have with the book is the fact a 15-year old would take off in her mother's car and they did not even contemplate ringing up the police or looking for her. Considering their daughter is not only a minor but also not a licensed driver, this part did not ring true to me as the mother of 3 adolescents. I had further difficulties trying to comprehend why the mother of a minor felt she, the mother, would need to earn back her daughter's trust and not the other way around. With that said, the letter Laura pens makes for interesting reading and a rather intriguing look at the tumultuous times of the Vietnam Era and what it was like to be an adolescent during that time frame. From a historical perspective I found the novel to be interesting, but the premise for the novel simply did not ring true to me as a mother. I realise everyone will take something different from this novel, which for it's diminutive size is quite full of intriguing details of love, family relations, desegregation, Vietnam, loss, and teenage angst. Letter To My Daughter would make for rather interesting discussion for a book group.

About the Author:
George Bishop holds an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he won the department’s Award of Excellence for a collection of stories. He has spent most of the past decade living and teaching overseas in Slovakia, Turkey, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, India, and Japan. He now lives in New Orleans.

George Bishop’s LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR officially begin on March 1st and end on March 26th. You can visit George’s blog stops at during the month of March to find out more about this great book and talented author!

I received a complimentary copy of Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour. Receiving a copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.



dArLyN said...

yeah, why not the daughter makes effort to earn her mother's thrust? this one should be a nice read and love to read this soon.great review =)

Kris said...

Hey Jennifer! I just had to stop over and comment. I read your review and while I agree with your point about calling the cops when their kid takes the car, I have to say that I really loved this one. I actually took alot with me from this story. But, of course, everyone like different things so..

And I highly agree that this would make a great book club read!

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the lovely review of George's book. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I really want to. If those other 70 books would read themselves, I would be all set. :)

Thanks again for the review.


Tahereh said...

hmmm... great review! i'd never even heard of this title. something to think about!

thanks for sharing!!

great blog!

bookjourney said...

Thanks Jennifer for the review of this book. This gives me a good idea of what the book is about.