Things I Want My Daughters To Know

Things I Want My Daughters To Know

3.9 56
by Elizabeth Noble
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

When Barbara realizes time is running out, she writes letters to her four daughters, aware they’ll have to manage without her. Take Lisa, in her 30s but incapable of making a commitment, or Jennifer, trapped in a stale marriage and buttoned up so tight she could burst.While 20-something Amanda is the traveller, always distanced from the rest of the family.

Overview

When Barbara realizes time is running out, she writes letters to her four daughters, aware they’ll have to manage without her. Take Lisa, in her 30s but incapable of making a commitment, or Jennifer, trapped in a stale marriage and buttoned up so tight she could burst.While 20-something Amanda is the traveller, always distanced from the rest of the family. And Hannah, only a teenager, is about to be parted from the mother she adores. But by drawing on the wisdom in Barbara’s letters, the girls might just find a way to cope with their loss.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Noble (The Reading Group) hits her stride in her tearjerker fourth novel. Before Barbara Forbes, a mother of four, succumbs to terminal cancer, she leaves words of wisdom for her four daughters in the form of letters to each of them. In the year following Barbara's death, her daughters draw strength from her words and from each other as they move forward with their lives. Lisa, the eldest, is advised to "let someone look after [her]" for a change. Jennifer, "fragile and hard to reach," struggles with an unraveling marriage. Free-spirited Amanda is thrown for a loop by a family secret, and teenaged Hannah, experiencing her first taste of rebellion, is reminded that she still has a lot of growing up to do. Though Barbara's life-is-short aphorisms are nothing new, her sharp wit and distinctive voice is a nice complement to the four nuanced stories of coping with death. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Four sisters come to terms with the death of their mother over the course of one year, buoyed and buffeted by the letters and journal she left behind to guide them. Eldest daughter Lisa reaches a moment of truth with her boyfriend-to marry or not. Stoic Jennifer is at a crossroads in her marriage, complicated by the decision whether to have a baby. Amanda, consumed with wanderlust, wonders why she's always running away and considers what it would take for her to stay. And the youngest, 16-year-old Hannah, struggles to navigate her turbulent teenage years, mourning her mother while trying to comfort her father. Noble's fourth novel (after Alphabet Weekends) is a bittersweet yet ultimately uplifting story of love, family, and the bonds between mothers and daughters and among sisters. Letters and journal entries are sprinkled throughout the narrative, expanding the novel's focus to include the family's history from the very beginning and making for a sweeping, engaging, and comfortable women's fiction choice. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
—Amy Brozio-Andrews

Kirkus Reviews
A beyond-the-grave, mother/daughter heartstring-tugger, from the shrewd British novelist (Alphabet Weekends, 2007, etc.). No crying and no black at the funeral, insists Barbara, a 60-year-old mother of four girls, in the first of her to-be-read-after-I'm-gone letters to her children. Noble's story of how Barbara's daughters (and second husband) survive her premature death from cancer, aided by farewell letters and a journal, is an unashamed tear-jerker, with its lovable-but-flawed parent sending caring advice into the future to her four grieving but eventually happy girls. Noble assigns each of the main characters a more or less trumped-up problem or secret to be resolved, after which contentment reliably follows. Commitment-phobic eldest child Lisa mucks up her relationship with nice Andy by having an affair and not really wanting to accept Andy's marriage proposal, but she ends up walking down the aisle. For possibly infertile Jennifer, with her cooling marriage, all is resolved by a sex-fueled holiday and a proper chat, after which she quickly becomes pregnant. Amanda, the wanderer, needs to stop running away, digest the fact that her father was neither of Barbara's husbands and open up to flawless new boyfriend Ed. And young Hannah simply requires some space in which to grow up. A comfortable if formulaic and sentimental scenario, delivered in a light tone with professionalism and a straight face. Agent: Jonathan Lloyd/Curtis Brown

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143168805
Publisher:
Penguin Canada
Publication date:
04/28/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
5.27(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.15(d)

Read an Excerpt

Things I Want My Daughters to Know

Chapter One

June

Dear All of You,

Despite my controlling streak, there aren't too many rules, so far as the funeral goes. Do it as soon as you can, won't you? Good to get it over with. Lisa knows about the music, if you can bear to go with what I've chosen. We've talked about the committal—you know I only want you lot there, and you know which coffin, and which fabulous outfit. I'd like this poem—which, by the way, I love. Thank God for insomnia and the Internet—I'd never have found it otherwise, and you'd be stuck reading something yucky. It should be read by whoever thinks they can do it without crying, because that is my biggest rule. No crying, please. If you can manage it. Oh, and no black. Wear the brightest thing you can find in your wardrobes. Both are clichés, I know, but better the colorful one than the somber. And try and make the sun shine (although I recognize that this last one might be outside of your control). I'm not saying anything mushy in this letter—strictly business—but I daresay there will be other letters. I have other things to say—she says ominously—if I last long enough to write them . . . (don't you just love terminal illness humor?).

I'm sorry you all have to do this. I really am.

So, never-ever­ending love, as always . . .

Mum

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond light on snow
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain
I am the gently falling autumnrain
When you wake in the morning hush
I am the swift uplighting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft starlight at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I do not die.

(Isn't that perfect for a funeral in a field?!)

Things I Want My Daughters to Know. Copyright ? by Elizabeth Noble. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

ELIZABETH NOBLE lives in New York and Surrey with her husband and two daughters. Her six previous novels—The Reading Group, The Friendship Test (formerly published as The Tenko Club), Alphabet Weekends, Things I Want My Daughters to Know, The Girl Next Door, and The Way We Were—were all Sunday Times bestsellers, with The Reading Group reaching number one in the U.K.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Wonersh, Guildford, Surrey, England
Date of Birth:
December 22, 1968
Place of Birth:
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
Education:
B.A., St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University, 1990
Website:
http://www.elizabethnoblebooks.com

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Things I Want My Daughters to Know 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good book, but take note that the author is British, this is set in England and unless you are extremely familiar with with British terminology, slang, products, etc. you will not 'get' a lot of the humor & won't be able to relate to things she writes about.
BookFanVM More than 1 year ago
I picked this book after I was diagnosed with a heart problem. My daughter is 12 yrs old and I thought about the things I would want to teach her as she grows but I may not be around. This book is not a reference book by any means but it helped me to write down things that I wanted her to know in the future. I cried, laughed, cried and then laughed some more. The book was a little hard to follow at first because it's set in England with English characters. If you don't know the lingo and slang used across the pond it makes understanding some what difficult.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe this is Elizabeth's best novel. The diary and letters left by the mother for her daughters are wonderful. There are messages all mothers and daughters could learn from. It was heart warming as to how the book ended with all the sisters finally understanding each other and how they all had different relationships with their mother and step-father.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the beginning and the middle. Seemed like a everyday family dealing with the lose of a mother and a wife. The end however everyone got a little bit to sappy......the sisters all of a sudden were justt to beautiful and the word love was spread around a bit to much. I had to stop and check to see if i was reading the same book. Its a shame.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not enjoy this book, even though I am British and did understand the British lingo...understanding it still did not make it funny. The characters were one dimensional, the plot boring and the end all wrapped up in an implausible neat bow. I was expecting this book to have some profound, deep advise from the mother to the daughters, but that was not the case. The mother's letters were a very small part of the book. I didn't care about any of the characters, and couldn't wait to finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When an author "grabs me" within the first chapter, I consider the book a good read. This was a GREAT read. Couldn't put it down. Written from a Mother's heart. I highly recommend it.
R2RG More than 1 year ago
This is a great read, it has everything a girl wants in a book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was funny, sad, and realistic. I would diffiently recommend this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I went in half-heartedly, but was pleasantly surprised and deeply moved. Have 4 of my own (2girls/2boys) and I understood the book. I was between laughing and tears at the same time throughout the whole book :D... highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
giantsgirl More than 1 year ago
i loved this! can't wait to read hrer other books. i am buying aa copy of thid in print for each of my 4 daughters! they need to read this.
Monique Contreras More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I adored the characters. It was a very sweet story. I would recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great book! I was afraid it might be rather morbid but it wasn't. It was funny in places and brings a tear to your eye in other parts. There was a lot of truth in it. It leaves you with some things to think about. I thoroughly enjoyed it.