Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Letter to My Mom

Title:  A Letter to My Mom
Author:  Lisa Erspamer, Editor
Publication Information:  Crown Archetype. 2015. 160 pages.
ISBN:  0804139679 / 978-0804139670

Book Source:  I received this book through a publisher's giveaway free of cost in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Blogging for Books.

Opening Sentence:  "A Letter to My Mom is the third book in our letter series to date."

Favorite Quote:  "A good parent curates reality for their children. They gather up all of the good stuff - all of the knowledge, opportunity, existential wonderfulness, and more - and they say, 'Here's what the world has to offer - go enjoy it!'" [letter by Tom Burns]

Lisa Erspamer is the president of a multimedia production company and, previously, the chief creative officer of the Oprah Winfrey Network. This book is the third in the "letter to..." series. The first two were A Letter to My Dog and A Letter to My Cat. This book calls on a wide range of contributors to share their connections with their mothers with all the complexities that a mother-child relationship can hold.

Because I see this as a gift book, I would definitely recommend a print version over an e-book version. Visually, the printed book is appealing. The book is about 6" by 8", a comfortable size to hold. The paper is thick and very smooth to the feel. The pages alternate between a set of soft, pastel colors. The book uses font size and color as well as text boxes to set off key quotes from each letter. The photographs of each mother child pair included in the book make the book seem much more personal and nostalgic.

Sweetly, the first page is lined space title "A Letter to the Mom" allowing a purchaser to write in their own letter, again indicating its use as a gift. I love finding inscriptions and messages in old books. Is it possible to incorporate such a feature into an e-book?  I am not sure it can. So, stick with the printed version.

Structurally, the book has pros and cons. The book does not have a table of contents, but at the back is an alphabetized list of the contributors; the section reminds me of a yearbook, with photos and bios. Placing the author biographies with the individual letters would have been helpful, especially for the people I don't know. The biographies help convey the context of the letter, and I find myself flipping back and forth.

The book pulls contributors from a wide range of ages and contexts:
  • Two year old Stephanie writes with her five and eight year old siblings.
  • Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, writes of lessons learned when her mother left her when Sarah was only thirteen.
  • Lisa Goldman, diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, writes of the thought of her children growing up without their mother and of her mother's supportive way of dealing with her incurable diagnosis. 
  • Monica Lewinsky who opens her letter with acknowledgement of her mother's supporting during the Starr investigations.
  • Dr. Phil McGraw who remembers the little things that add up to a lifetime of love.
  • Melissa Rivers with a humorous take on the time her mother Joan Rivers lived with her and her son Cooper. (Interestingly, this letter does not include any reference to the fact that Joan Rivers passed aways between the time this letter was written and the time the book was published.)
The content of each letter is as varied as the contributors themselves. The first letter is from the editor to her own mother. As you would expect, most of the letters are of praise and love. However, not all. I appreciate that reality. Mothers and children have very complex relationships, and I am glad that including the variety of letters acknowledges that.

A lovely little gift just in time for Mother's Day.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.


  1. Happy Mother's Day!

    Oh you are lucky to have won the book. I have it on my TBR list. I didn't know that not all the letters praised their mother's, but that's the reality. I enjoyed your review.

    P. S. I'm currently reading "The Husband's Secret" by Liane Moriarty.

    1. Happy Mother's Day to you as well!

      I think all the letters end on love, but not all the experiences are positive ones. Let me know what you think if you read the book.

      I read two books by Liane Moriarty but not The Husband's Secret. Hope it's a good read!