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Readers Comment on THINGS I WISH I TOLD MY MOTHER by Susan Patterson and Susan DiLallo

Special Feature

Readers Comment on THINGS I WISH I TOLD MY MOTHER by Susan Patterson and Susan DiLallo


In February, 50 readers won an advance copy of THINGS I WISH I TOLD MY MOTHER by Susan Patterson and Susan DiLallo, which is now available and will be a Bets On pick. We asked them to read the book and let us know their thoughts on it. We are happy to share some of their comments with you here. Many thanks to all who took the time to give us such wonderful feedback.




Kathy R. from Wellsville, KS
I enjoyed reading THINGS I WISH I TOLD MY MOTHER. I found it to be a realistic portrayal of a mother–daughter relationship. The travelogue design of the majority of the book actually brought back many memories of my own mother. We traveled to Paris and Oslo (and other European cities) together in 2001. We, too, visited the Viking Museum and the Olympic ski area, as well as Paris sights.

While our relationship was much closer and less confrontational than that of Laurie and Dr. Liz, I found some similarities, as my mom could be all-knowing sometimes. However, she became more amenable after getting lost in Amsterdam when she did not heed my suggestion to stay put on a bench and wait until I returned from down the block. It scared me so much when I could not find her at first.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the episode in the restaurant where they were rating the men around them. Plus, the very title shows regret, and I share that regret, in addition to wishing for more time spent with my mom.

I appreciate how the authors inserted humor into the book. The humor, the tension and the variety of emotions are all so true in the relationship. I am definitely recommending the book to my reader friends, and I hope to use it as a book club selection in the future, as I know it will lend itself to much discussion. Most of my book club members are ladies whose mothers are no longer living, and I just know they can relate to Laurie and Dr. Liz.

Jill M. from Griswold, CT
I have never had to review a book in my adult life, so I was today years old (aka almost 42) when I did so. Here are my thoughts:

Not to sound cliché, but this book is great! I am an avid reader, and it has been quite some time since I read a book that I truly wanted to pass on. The storyline, plot and writing were so good! The ending was unexpected, which I appreciated. It seems so incredibly rare in fiction these days for me NOT to guess the ending way too quickly. When that happens, I have trouble enjoying the plot, which thankfully was not the case with this book.

The storyline in general hits near to home. I am very close with my mother, which many may think is atypical. I love the dynamic between the characters; the ebbs and flows of their relationship truly resonates with me. As I have gotten older, I am very conscious of how my relationship with my mother has changed --- from the way we interact in general to the topics of conversation, and everything in between. As humans, we are always learning and growing, but it sure is something to do that with a parent, who has also become my best friend, my rock and my confidant throughout the years. I may not know every detail of her life, but I appreciate all of the pieces of information that she shares with me. It helps me to understand who she is, what events have shaped her, and how various relationships throughout her life have helped mold her into the person she is today.

We may not always agree or see eye to eye, but we always come back together with mutual understanding and respect from where the other is coming from. I think this was an ongoing theme throughout the book, the characters continually learning more about each other and appreciating each bit of information they learn. It's an unexpected evolution that is sweetly portrayed throughout the story, which I thought was masterfully told. I really enjoyed this book and am eager to pass it on!

Diana T. from The Villages, FL
First, I think this book will be a boon for Parisian tourism, as well as be responsible for mother–daughter travel excursions.

The authors have really captured the often conflicted yet loving relationships between mothers and daughters. I recall a quote attributed to Carrie Fisher: “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.”

In the case of Liz and Laurie, although each was deemed a success by the rest of the world, Liz felt inadequate as a mother, and Laurie never believed she lived up to Liz’s expectations. Their relationship, as well as many in real life, is fraught with miscommunication and misunderstanding, which seems to be universal situations regardless of financial or educational status.

Since Laurie is writing the narrative, we mostly see her viewpoint of events. I felt I could draw my own conclusions as to whether Liz really felt certain things or they were only perceived by Laurie, who was offended and defensive many times.

I did enjoy the book and do plan to recommend it to my book clubs. I believe it will lead to some deep discussions about our first and longest relationship.

Jenifer from St. Petersburg, FL
I absolutely loved this book, even though it was an emotional rollercoaster read for me. The similarity of the mother–daughter relationship in the book to my own relationship with my mother was astonishing. The introduction to Laurie's mother, Dr. Liz, felt like a lightning bolt had struck me. From this point on, I felt a deep kinship with Laurie. The instances of never being good enough, the imagined or real emotional distance between mother and daughter, and the way of dealing with these experiences (silence was the "easy" way out) were so relatable to me.

The European trip was at times hilarious and also heart-wrenching. Then the denouement (one of my mother's favorite words) was such a wonderful and astonishing surprise. I had to take a few days to process my emotions (I'm still processing) before I was able to put my thoughts together to write this. I had high hopes for a great ending, and I wasn't disappointed.

Kelley B. from Houston, TX
I found the book to be so refreshing, fun and a quick read. Laurie's dry, sometimes sarcastic humor had me laughing out loud several times throughout the book. I adored the dynamic between Laurie and her mother, Dr. Liz.

Admittedly there were times I worried that the trip would either be cut short or end badly. It was so touching that a daughter wanted to take her mother on a trip overseas not only to a fabulous tourist city, but to her mother's birthplace in Norway. As I have never visited the latter, the descriptions of the train ride and the food were spectacular. The family dynamic as they welcome Dr. Liz and her daughter were so heartwarming and sweet.

As a Francophile, I was lost in the scenes in Paris, complete with French terms, food and vivid descriptions of specific places of interest in Paris. The authors took me totally by surprise with the ending. It was bittersweet yet so poignant. Thank you for a lovely story.

Deb M. from Johnston, IA
I really enjoyed this book. I could put myself in the role of both mother and daughter, so I was able to understand these characters. I’m of the age where I don’t understand the casual sex, but my daughter is of that generation, so I accept it as I can certainly remember the first excitement of a new relationship.

I read this book to my 93-year-old mother, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. It led to memories of trips we took together, which was special. At first I thought the daughter was nuts taking her mother on the trip because of her health, but that of course sets up various situations to better understand them. The character development of both women was especially good.

I think it would make a good book club book. It’s an appropriate length and a quick enough read for any group. A book club of mixed ages would have a very good discussion. I am passing the book along to my daughter, and I’m sure we’ll discuss it.

Jenny B. from Ocean Isle Beach, NC
What an absolute joy this book is. This story of mother–daughter relationships had me laughing out loud and blurry-eyed through tears. On their trip to Paris, two women learn things about each other and argue over differences, but ultimately it’s just what they need to discover the love they have for each other.

With endearing characters, a delicious romp in Paris and delightful settings, this book is one that I will remember fondly. It is a treasure that I will keep on my Best Ever shelf with my most beloved, read books. Meticulous, thorough writing is important to me. I have to love the characters, be able to visualize the settings, and most of all relate to the story in some way. This book checked off all these requirements and so much more. I am very impressed.

Lisa N. from Minneapolis, MN
As I finished this book, I had tears in my eyes while smiling. The first word that came to mind was "WOW." This page-turner spans the rainbow of emotions; it’s humorous and tender with vivid descriptions of the characters and their surroundings. This mother–daughter odd couple is very relatable. Even though my relationship with my mom was not the same as theirs, I kept thinking about her and all that we shared (and didn't share). Thank you to the authors for shining a light on both sides of the mother–daughter relationship. Definitely 5 out of 5 stars.

Kathryn A. from Sun City Center, FL
My daughter and I have taken several trips outside of the US, so I was curious about this book. We get along much better than these two. We have lots of fun and giggles! The ending was a surprise. Now I am passing it on to my daughter to read and get her take on it. She actually lives close to the Pattersons. My fellow book group members and I are all mothers in our 60s and 70s, and we each have differing relationships with our daughters. This could prompt some lively discussion for sure.

Mary T. from Ridgefield, CT
I absolutely loved it! I could connect so well with the mother–daughter interaction. Towards the end, when Laurie describes The Look, I understood it completely --- my daughter says I do this often. What a mother–daughter gem of a book. I also have to mention the fact that their words brought me to Paris and Norway, and I could picture all the sights and foods they beautifully described. A really good read! I already told my daughter that she has to read this book.

Jane M. from Sunset Beach, NC
I read this book a month after my husband passed away. I kept thinking of all the things I wish we would have had a chance to still do, including traveling to places we had talked about seeing. For me, the book was bittersweet. When I think about my mother, who passed away 20 years ago, I wish I had had a chance to talk about her early life. There are so many things I wish I knew, but youth does not always think of those important things. I think this book would make for a wonderful discussion, particularly in a book group where the members are comfortable with each other.

Meggan W. from Sidney, OH
I could totally relate to the push-pull relationship between Dr. Liz and Laurie. As daughters, we work hard to establish a separate identity, yet the lessons our mothers impart are always part of that identity, for better or worse. I loved watching the evolution of this parent–child relationship into a genuine friendship. The twist at the end was a bittersweet surprise. I'm thinking of things I wish I had told my mother...and things I wish I had asked her.

Marie G. from University Place, WA
This character-driven novel tugged at my heartstrings while I was whisked away with Laurie and Liz on their travels. Scenes from both locations were well described and added richness to the story. Their conflict made me value my relationship with my own mom more. The twist at the end stunned me and hit hard and fast. The book is a delightful, thoughtful look at mothers and daughters that everyone will love.

Judy Q. from Alpena, MI
I loved it. I liked that it was a normal mother–daughter relationship. They didn't always get along. Liz usually frowned on just about everything that Laurie did. Not much seemed to please Dr. Liz. The ending surprised me. Having lost my mother 23 years ago, it made me miss her again. I wish that I could talk to her as I still have things to tell her. I am sending this book to one of my daughters who is a member of a book group.

Katie M. from Ojai, CA
I think any mother and daughter would relate to this book. The twist was a curve ball that hit me hard. “Maybe the most important thing I learned from you: people don't always give you what you want. They give you what they have to give.” I am going to give this book to my 91-year-old mother to read.

Aimee H. from Colorado Springs, CO
I really liked it. Laurie's relationship with her mom felt real. I loved the travel and descriptions of the places they visited. I think it would be a great book for a lively discussion. Where would you take your mom and why? What things haven't you said to each other or wish you had said?

Lynn W. from Highland Park, IL
This is a charming, light novel about the relationship of a mother and daughter. It is funny and will give you all the feels. Particularly effective is much of the dialogue between a driven, perfectionist mother and her daughter, who is neither. It is both sweet and emotional to witness the evolution of their relationship.

Robin N. from Pawtucket, RI
I was pleasantly surprised by this story. I enjoyed the mother–daughter dynamic and the travel portion of the trip. It was very thought-provoking for me. This summer I took a trip with my mother for the first time, just the two of us, so the story resonated with me despite not learning too much more about her.

Chris L. from Brookfield, WI
I found this book believable as there are many sides to a mother–daughter relationship. Having lost my mother at an early age, there are many things that I wish I could’ve told  her. The ending was a nice twist, and it made me like the book even more than I did initially.

AnneMarie D. from Hillsborough, NJ
I loved following along on the vacation. I found myself googling some of the places they visited in Paris. The story flowed nicely, and I enjoyed the back-and-forth chatter between mother and daughter. I plan to pass the book on to my daughter and my mother.

Sharon F. from Louisville, KY
I loved it! It brought back memories of a trip I took with my mom. It was a bus trip with other seniors, and we traveled from Kentucky to Chicago. I would recommend this book to everyone.

Robin M. from St. Petersburg, FL
This book will be remembered long after the last page is read and the book cover is closed. It's a lesson about life; about things said and not said. It's about giving your all, whatever that might be, and to the extent that you can give. It’s poignant and touching.

Joyce Y. from Framingham, MA
I could not put this book down until the very end. The story evokes emotions one does not expect. It is rife with conflict, contrasts, revealing truths and raw emotions. It is a true study of a mother–daughter relationship and a very, very good read.

Elizabeth S. from Wyndmoor, PA
This is a very pleasant, light read. I think the two main characters were perfectly crafted, and I felt like I really got to know them. The little surprise at the end was fun.

Donna H. from Fairlawn, OH
I LOVED both sides of the mother–daughter relationship --- funny, sad and realistic. I also enjoyed the tours of Paris and Norway as I most likely will never visit these places in person.

Nikki Y. from Homer Glen, IL
This book was a very easy read with quick chapters. Although I thought the story was predictable, the ending had an interesting twist that I did not expect.

Gail C. from Hanover, PA
This is a delightful, light read. I would recommend it as an easy read about a mother–daughter relationship.

Elizabeth H. from Beverly, MA
This sweet "mother-daughter bonding" story made me laugh and cry. I wish my mom was still alive to share some stories. I was totally unprepared for the ending. Good job!