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Who Killed Mom

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

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

One of Canada's funniest writers 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 Steve Burgess. 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 bold 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. He 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.


"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."
—Publishers Weekly

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

"A poignant, loving and darkly humourous memoir."
—Toronto Star

"Like a Garrison Keillor of the Canadian Prairies, Burgess writes funny, unfiltered observations, anecdotes and character descriptions...worthy of a Leacock Medal for Humour."
—Globe and Mail

"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?"
—Prairie Books NOW

"Burgess's tale is part memoir, part autobiography, part who-done-it, and all-over fantastic."
—San Francisco Book Review

"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."
—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."
—Brandon Sun