First Impressions

It’s blurb season for this coming autumn’s books and I’ve been fortunate to have five stellar authors offer their thoughts on Daughter of Family G. I thought I’d share them here along with some of their recent work.

(Props to author-friend Terry Fallis who is the first writer I’ve seen feature their blurbers and their books on a website. I loved the idea so much, I decided to follow suit. Thanks, Terry! )

Pauline Dakin, author of Run, Hide, Repeat

Pauline Dakin is an author, journalist, and journalism professor who teaches at the University of King’s College in Halifax. Her first non-fiction book Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood was released in September of 2017. It quickly became a Canadian bestseller, was named a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of 2017 and won the 2018 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. Pauline was also the national health reporter for CBC News for fourteen years. I’ve long admired her work covering the science and medicine beat for the CBC, so it was a true honour to have her read my memoir ahead of publication.

Here’s what Pauline had to say about Daughter of Family G:

“Ami McKay’s memoir is a deep and relevant meditation on navigating the terrain between the genes we inherit and the life we choose. For McKay, despite a life-threatening mutation, it is life-affirming family love that triumphs.” 

Pauline Dakin

JJ Lee, author of The Measure of a Man

J J Lee’s memoir, The Measure of a Man: the Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit was shortlisted for the 2011 Governor-General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction, the 2012 BC Book Prizes Hubert Evans Prize for Non-Fiction, and the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize. I fell in love with J J’s writing from page one and I’m also a big fan of his radio show turned podcast, Head to Toe.

Here are J J’s thoughts on Daughter of Family G:

“Ami McKay’s book mourns all that is lost, but is no tragedy. Instead, she celebrates the ancestors who contributed so much to our understanding that cancer is in part hereditary. More importantly, she teaches us through moving stories and memories how to live and live on beyond the grasp of destiny.”

J J Lee

Tina Cassidy, author of Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait?

Tina Cassidy is one of my all-time favourite writers on women and culture. In addition to her latest book: Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait? Alice Paul, Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the Right to Vote, she is the author of Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born; and Jackie After O: One Remarkable Year When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Defied Expectations and Rediscovered Her Dreams. A former journalist who spent most of her career at the Boston Globe covering business, fashion and politics, she is now the Chief Marketing Officer of WGBH. Tina also serves on the board of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. 

Here’s what Tina wrote about Daughter of Family G:

“This beautifully told, genre-bending story is part mystery and part love story that reads like historical fiction. I couldn’t put it down. It’s the rare book that makes you laugh, cry and learn so much.”

Tina Cassidy

Jann Arden, singer-songwriter extraordinaire and author of Feeding My Mother

Jann Arden is a singer, songwriter, broadcaster, actor, author and social media star. As well as being a celebrated multi-platinum, award-winning artist, she has written four books, the most recent being the Canadian bestseller Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss. She’s also a frequent guest host on CTV’s The Social and the star and creator of the hit CTV show, JANN.

Full disclosure: as a HUGE Jann Fann, I’m absolutely over-the-moon with what she’s written about my book:

“Ami McKay, how do you do it? How do you turn a tale of cancer genetics gone mad into a surreal and beautiful story of love and resilience and genealogy and history? Daughter of Family G is more than a memoir—it manages to unfold and examine all of our pasts. How do we define ourselves? What is destiny? Is fate as simple as it sounds, or can it be rewritten? This book became a bible of sorts for me, providing me with the most brilliant tools to imagine my own future. I wanted to follow Ami to her house and sit at her kitchen table and ask her a hundred questions. Her ability to be vulnerable and open was beautiful. How she faced her personal demons and gave them heart was everything.”

Jann Arden

Beth Powning, author of A Measure of Light

Beth Powning is the author of three novels and three books of literary non-fiction, as well as articles, essays and blog posts. A full-time writer, she teaches workshops, visits schools, sings in two choruses, serves on boards and committees, gardens, photographs, and has chickens and ponies. (Basically, she’s my ideal role model.) Beth’s latest bestselling novel, A Measure of Light, was called by the Globe and Mail “shatteringly exquisite…extraordinary…visceral and intense.” I wholeheartedly agree.

Here are Beth’s thoughts on Daughter of Family G:

“Infused with hard-won wisdom, this brilliant memoir of a family haunted by cancer is an invitation, in the face of fear, to be “wildly, passionately, outrageously devoted to life.” Bees, crinoline, hospital labs, kindness, grief, despair, and especially love—the large and small signatures are all here, recognizable, heartbreaking, and confirming. Moved to tears, I held this profound and courageous book to my heart, reminded of life’s frail wonder.”

Beth Powning

My sincere thanks to Pauline, J J, Tina, Jann and Beth for taking the time to read my work in such a thoughtful way. I am profoundly grateful.

People, places and things mentioned in this post:

Pauline Dakin

J J Lee

Tina Cassidy

Jann Arden

Beth Powning

Terry Fallis

Learn more about my memoir: Daughter of Family G

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