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Who Killed Mom

A Delinquent Son's Meditation on Family, Mortality, and Very Tacky Candles

Regular price $14.95
  • ISBN: 9781553658344
  • Tags: Biography & Memoir, Steve Burgess,
  • Published On: 16/04/2011
  • 264 Pages


""A touching -- if decidedly and deliberately offbeat -- family memoir...Expect to encounter laughs and tugs on the heartstrings in pretty much equal amounts."" -- Booklist

""Burgess has written not only the funniest book published this year, but one of the most moving memoirs Canada's prairies have offered up."" -- The Tyee

One of Canada's funniest writers, Steve Burgess, tackles his mother's life and death in a profound, entertaining story.

Memoir, biography, and outrageous comedy make for a perfect blend in the debut book from acclaimed writer. Telling the tale of his mother's life and death, and along the way laying bare his own struggles as a troubled teenager, Burgess delivers a moving meditation on life and family.

The author's mother, Joan, barely survived her thirteenth birthday: a rare disorder had made it almost impossible for her to swallow food. Her battle to survive this illness was the first in a lifelong struggle with the demons of her upbringing. As she raised her five children, of whom the author is the youngest, Joan revealed herself to be a b and remarkably complex woman, despite being a sick parent. This is the story of her family: Joan herself, her husband -- a charming United Church minister -- and their children, including the alarmingly delinquent Steve.

Who Killed Mom? brims with uproarious anecdotes and one-liners. Whether he's relating how an ice cream product saved him from a gruesome death on the Trans-Canada, sizing up the rebranding efforts of a woeful Manitoba motel, or depicting daily life in a retirement community, Burgess infuses his tales with plenty of humour. But beneath the book's hilarity is a penetrating examination of eternal themes: family, mortality, fate, and the enduring value of love.


Steve Burgess is a writer and broadcater whose honours include two Canadian National Magazine awards.

Burgess is the former host of @the end, a nationally broadcast talk show on CBC Newsworld, and a frequent CBC Radio guest host.

Burgess' stories have been featured in Reader's Digest editions around the world, as well as Maclean's, the Globe & Mail, and other publications. Who Killed Mom? is his first book.


" . . . a poignant, loving and darkly humourous memoir." -Toronto Star 100 Books of 2011

"Like a Garrison Keillor of the Canadian Prairies, Burgess writes funny, unfiltered observations, anecdotes and character descriptions . . . This is a very funny book, worthy of a Leacock Medal for Humour." -Globe & Mail Top 100

"One would hardly expect to guffaw through a memoir that examines the aging of a parent, her declining health, her loss of independence, and inevitably, her death. But such is the case with Who Killed Mom? A Delinquent Son's Meditation on Family, Mortality and Very Tacky Candles, author Steve Burgess's sobering - and yes, hilarious - new book, as indicated by the somewhat cheeky subtitle." -Prairie Books NOW

"A touching - if decidedly and deliberately offbeat - family memoir . . . Expect to encounter laughs and tugs on the heartstrings in pretty much equal amounts." -Booklist

"Burgess's tale is part memoir, part autobiography, and part who-done-it and all-over fantastic . . . a fine work of serious literary value." -San Francisco Book Review

"In this witty and compassionate debut, Canadian broadcaster Burgess examines the life and death of his mother, Joan, and his own supposed role in her demise . . . Burgess honestly highlights the great ruthlessness of familial love, and the power of humor and storytelling to cope with life and death." -Publisher's Weekly

"It's a heartfelt, but funny, portrait of the author's mother . . . Burgess writes with candor and humour about his family and their circle. He's also merciless when revealing his own faults." -Uptown Magazine

"Not only are there no murders, but Burgess has managed to pull off a memoir that dwells not on dysfunction and disaster but on the everyday experiences of a refreshingly happy and ordinary family . . . Burgess has a way with one-liners, and it comes in handy as he gets ready to face the death of his beloved mother. As they say, you have to laugh." -Winnipeg Free Press

"Using a blend of memoir, biography, and at times outrageous comedy, Steve tells the story of his mother's life and death, while laying his own struggles bare along the way . . . Beneath the book's hilarity is a penetrating examination of eternal themes: family, mortality, fate and the enduring value of love." -Brandon Sun