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Synopsis

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

"Burgess has written not only the funniest book published this year, but one of the most moving memoirs Canada's prairies have offered up." -- The Tyee

One of Canada's funniest writers, Steve Burgess, 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. 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 strong 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.

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