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Winner of the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize
Winner of the 2016 Forest of Reading® Evergreen Award™
After almost twenty years of caring for elderly parents—first for their senile father, and then for their cantankerous ninety-three-year-old mother—author Plum Johnson and her three younger brothers experience conflicted feelings of grief and relief when their mother, the surviving parent, dies. Now they must empty and sell the beloved family home, which hasn’t been de-cluttered in more than half a century. Twenty-three rooms bulge with history, antiques, and oxygen tanks. Plum remembers her loving but difficult parents who could not have been more different: the British father, a handsome, disciplined patriarch who nonetheless could not control his opinionated, extroverted Southern-belle wife who loved tennis and gin gimlets. The task consumes her, becoming more rewarding than she ever imagined. Items from childhood trigger memories of her eccentric family growing up in a small town on the shores of Lake Ontario in the 1950s and 60s. But unearthing new facts about her parents helps her reconcile those relationships with a more accepting perspective about who they were and what they valued.
They Left Us Everything is a funny, touching memoir about the importance of preserving family history to make sense of the past and nurturing family bonds to safeguard the future.
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Plum Johnson is an award-winning author, artist and entrepreneur living in Toronto. She was the founder of KidsCanada Publishing Corp., publisher of KidsToronto, and co-founder of Help’s Here! resource magazine for seniors and caregivers.Review:
Praise for They Left Us Everything
“[They Left Us Everything] is the kind of slim, unassuming memoir that hits you deep in the gut . . . Amid the scraps of paper left in jacket pockets, family photos and pieces of furniture, part of the “everything” our parents leave us with are our memories of them, good and bad. Perhaps figuring out what to do with them is as close to a manual for grief as we get.”—National Post
“Johnson writes with clarity, wit and a powerful descriptive voice that makes the rambling family home she moves back into for 16 weeks a character in itself.”—NOW Toronto
“A fascinating and delightful story – a satisfying and thought-provoking book.”—The Parry Sound North Star
“Each word of They Left Us Everything is heartfelt and moving. We are privy to Johnson’s emotional journey to the point that it feels like she is part of our own family. Her story lingers inside, touching the soul.”—newz4u.net
“At times heartbreaking and at others hysterically funny . . . the book’s descriptive prose brings [the] places and people to life and poignantly conveys the quasi-spiritual journey that helps Johnson overcome her grief.”—Publishers Weekly
“[Johnson] takes you along on a journey that is emotional, humorous, and candid.”—Newstalk 1010
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Book Description Penguin Canada, 2014. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # MB012YXGZSG