If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, a Daughter, a Reporter's Notebook

If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, a Daughter, a Reporter's Notebook

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by Katherine Rosman
     
 

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“Katherine Rosman has a great gift for articulating the yearnings of daughterhood and the mysteries of motherhood.”
— Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor of The Last Lecture

“Katherine Rosman’s voice rings with truth, pain, and hard-won humor as she reports from the heart in this bold, cathartic tale of a daughter’s

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Overview

“Katherine Rosman has a great gift for articulating the yearnings of daughterhood and the mysteries of motherhood.”
— Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor of The Last Lecture

“Katherine Rosman’s voice rings with truth, pain, and hard-won humor as she reports from the heart in this bold, cathartic tale of a daughter’s search to find meaning in her mother’s death.... This book beats with a heart of its own.”
— Janice Y.K. Lee, author of The Piano Teacher

In lively, intimate prose, Wall Street Journal culture reporter Katherine Rosman reconnects with her late mother by reporting on the life she led outside of her roles as mom and wife.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Wall Street Journal culture reporter Rosman uses her journalistic skills to work through her grief over the death of her mother at age 60 from lung cancer. In the Journal, the author wrote about attempts to better understand her mother through the perspective of those who knew her as a Pilates instructor and a collector of vintage glassware. Rosman is a solid writer and storyteller, and she portrays her mother as entertainingly sharp, even in her excruciating last days. Her reporting turns up some interesting stories. At Sloan-Kettering, where Suzy underwent aggressive surgery, a Haitian-born doctor whose humanity was a touchstone for the family truly understood their struggles-he had lost his own father to a rare cancer just weeks before. As Rosman continued her journey of discovery about her mother, some had doubts about her intentions. At a dinner party she met a man who "thought my premise-to use his term-was bullshit. ‘You're assuming the things you find out about have underlying meaning . . . But really you have no way of knowing what, if anything, any of your discoveries signify.' " The author admits that "he wasn't necessarily wrong," but "if you are open to finding meaning-which is almost always an exercise of faith and almost never an exercise in certainty-you might find meaning." Ultimately, this is not a book for skeptics; it's for readers who see in Rosman and Suzy something like their own relationship with their mother (or daughter), and who might need to be reminded that a mother is a person too. Offers some sweet illuminations, but a bit too light and friction-less for a book on death and mother-daughter relationships.
Elle
“Rosman’s bittersweet search for meaning is compelling and at times hilarious…. These stories are about Suzy but also about a daughter whose compassionate (not to mention labor-intensive) reporting is her way of coping. They memorialize a woman who, even if you didn’t’ know her, begs to be remembered.”
People (3 1/2 out of 4 stars)
“In this brave, funny, deeply moving memoir, [Rosman] shows readers how, even after death, love endures.”
People
“In this brave, funny, deeply moving memoir, [Rosman] shows readers how, even after death, love endures.”
People (3 ½ out of 4 stars)
“In this brave, funny, deeply moving memoir, [Rosman] shows readers how, even after death, love endures.”
Gretchen Rubin
“After I picked up If You Knew Suzy, I couldn’t put it down. Katherine Rosman’s enthralling memoir presents a tender yet searching picture of a mother’s life, her death, and her lasting influence on her daughters.”
(3 1/2 out of 4 stars) - People Magazine
"In this brave, funny, deeply moving memoir, [Rosman] shows readers how, even after death, love endures."
Christopher Walton
“More than mere memoir.... Rosman expertly counterbalances the bleak and grinding arc of her mother’s cancer with an inspiring tale of her quietly extraordinary life, and does so with irreverent humor, bracing honesty and the storytelling savvy of a veteran reporter.”
Jeffrey Zaslow
“Katie Rosman has a great gift for articulating the yearnings of daughterhood and the mysteries of motherhood. Reading her moving tale of discovery, we can’t help but contemplate the things we have yet to learn about our own parents-and about ourselves.”
Susan Orlean
“Frank, funny, keenly reported, but also deeply moving, Rosman’s book journeys into that mysterious territory-the nature of family and the substance of love.”
Janice Lee
“Rosman’s voice rings with truth, pain, and hard-won humor. . . . [A] bold, cathartic tale of a daughter’s search to find meaning in her mother’s death. She tells of her mother’s virtues and flaws with unvarnished honesty ... This book beats with a heart of its own.”
Sloane Crosley
“If Katherine Rosman’s detailed and heartfelt tribute to her mother doesn’t make you want to hug your own, I don’t know what will.”
Isabel Gillies
“How marvelous to sit beside a daughter exploring her mother’s life. If You Knew Suzy is about the joys of a family balanced by the heartbreaking complexities of death. Rosman is a dogged reporter whose eye for wonderful detail is enriched by the love and empathy of a devoted child.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061991226
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/20/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
824,678
File size:
399 KB

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What People are saying about this

Janice Lee
“Rosman’s voice rings with truth, pain, and hard-won humor. . . . [A] bold, cathartic tale of a daughter’s search to find meaning in her mother’s death. She tells of her mother’s virtues and flaws with unvarnished honesty ... This book beats with a heart of its own.”
Susan Orlean
“Frank, funny, keenly reported, but also deeply moving, Rosman’s book journeys into that mysterious territory-the nature of family and the substance of love.”
Isabel Gillies
“How marvelous to sit beside a daughter exploring her mother’s life. If You Knew Suzy is about the joys of a family balanced by the heartbreaking complexities of death. Rosman is a dogged reporter whose eye for wonderful detail is enriched by the love and empathy of a devoted child.”
Sloane Crosley
“If Katherine Rosman’s detailed and heartfelt tribute to her mother doesn’t make you want to hug your own, I don’t know what will.”
Christopher Walton
“More than mere memoir.... Rosman expertly counterbalances the bleak and grinding arc of her mother’s cancer with an inspiring tale of her quietly extraordinary life, and does so with irreverent humor, bracing honesty and the storytelling savvy of a veteran reporter.”
Jeffrey Zaslow
“Katie Rosman has a great gift for articulating the yearnings of daughterhood and the mysteries of motherhood. Reading her moving tale of discovery, we can’t help but contemplate the things we have yet to learn about our own parents-and about ourselves.”

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Meet the Author

A staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Katherine Rosman has written about popular culture for The New Yorker, the New York Times, and Elle magazine. A native of Michigan, she lives in New York with her husband and two children.

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If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, a Daughter, a Reporter's Notebook 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone is faced with tragedies, and loss within their lives but the way they deal and cope with the loss is one defining characteristic of every individual.  Katie and Lizzie lost their mother (Suzy) to cancer when she was at the age of 60.  For years they nurture their mother every waking hour of the day, not knowing which of those days would be her last.  Time after time of the doctor would repeat the same “hospital euphemisms like we do not expect your mother to survive this hospitalization,” and time after time she proved them wrong.  That is until one day the fight was over and Lizzie and Katie were faced with the reality that an imperative piece of their puzzle was now lost and would never be found.   Katie is determined to uncover her mother’s past in order to grasp a better understanding of what the women she thought she knew everything about really was like.  The admiring determination Katie unveils determination as well as a never ending love towards her mother.  She calls strangers and random phone numbers that have been uncovered in order to have a better understanding of who her mom was really.  The idea that parents and respectable individuals have been young at one point in their lives sparks many questions and thoughts about what they were like as a younger individual.   For Katie these questions can slowly be answered.  Without stating it, Roseman makes it clear that her way of grieving her mother’s death was through journalism and through the stories she was able to dig up about her mother.  Each passage read causes the reader to think about how they would be perceived and what memories would be told about them if they were in Suzy’s position.  We are constantly pushed to read biographies about famous and highly respected people but it is fun to be able to sit back and read about a normal person’s life.  Finally you are able to read about a dysfunctional family whose issues might sound rather familiar. While Katherine Roseman is an exceptional author, it was easy to question whether or not her mother would want the world to hear all of her stories.  So many memories and parts of Suzy’s life are spilled on a page and some of the flashbacks would have been better to just have the family know rather than the world.  Although the memories of her mother seem to go on and on, the detail added in order to make each story personalized is to par.  Each story has its own goofy parts allowing you to feel as if you really did know Katie and Lizzie’s mother.  The stories told are so random yet fascinating because Katie makes it feel as if she were personally sitting with you telling you each story.  Even through a hard subject, Katie is able to create an uplifting and sometimes funny story allowing her (and others) to rejoice in the countless memories shared with Suzy. Morgan M.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
Although she knew the death of her mom was coming shortly, Wall Street Journal reporter Katherine Rosman struggled to move passed the demise of Suzy, who at sixty died from lung cancer. To help her come to grips with her loss and better understand how others felt about her intelligent energetic mom, Ms. Rosman turned to people who knew her late mom; that is after a shopping spree with her sister Lizzie to honor their pain in the butt nurturing loving mom. Ms. Rosman talked with the empathetic Haitian doctor at Sloan-Kettering who lost his father to cancer just a few weeks prior to the death of Ms. Rosman's mom. Some people she chatted with thought her quest was a waste of time for her and the other party as neither will know if anything profound surfaced since the source is gone. Ms. Rosman agrees with the assessment on the surface, but her exercise is for herself as grief is customized to the individual. This is an interesting look at a daughter mourning for her loss of her mom though there is little in the way of conflict between the pair. Still readers, who struggle with the loss of a loved one, which reminds survivors of their mortality, will empathize with Ms. Rosman as she provides an engaging look at seeking her mom in death and especially in life from those who knew Suzy. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago