It Hit Me Like a Ton of Bricks: A memoir of a mother and daughter

It Hit Me Like a Ton of Bricks: A memoir of a mother and daughter

Catherine L. Burns

A funny and moving memoir about a daughter’s turbulent relationship with her mother – and how a child of one’s own can turn everything upside down.

‘Life is a series of losses. I’ve decided to be very zen about it. I have lost two husbands, my parents, my brother, countless friends; it is just one loss after another. You might as well get used it.’ So muses the author’s mother in this poignant and humorous memoir about mothers and daughters, and the miraculous things that happen when daughters become mothers.

Loss is a way of life for both Catherine L. Burns and her mother, but where it made the daughter ravenous for contact, it made the mother lose her appetite for people. While the two always had a fierce attachment, by turns intimate and tumultuous, decades of fractious and contentious and frustrating interactions found a reprieve after the birth of Catherine’s daughter, Olive. Witty and direct, weaving back and forth in time, the book charts the transformation of this volatile and unique mother-daughter relationship from longing to connection.

A book about love, mortality, and the nature of family bonds, ‘It Hit Me Like A Ton of Bricks’ is a must-read for anyone trying to navigate their way through the distance between their fantasies of love and the realities of family relationships.

Reviews of It Hit Me Like a Ton of Bricks: A memoir of a mother and daughter

    • ‘“It Hit Me Like a Ton of Bricks” is written with such disarming honesty that it would be uncomfortably unsettling if it weren’t tempered by equal doses of stunning wit. The story sneaks up on you and grabs you and before you know it, it’s tomorrow morning. Burns can flat out write and she does it with her eyes wide open, foot flat on the pedal and all the windows down – it’s an exhilarating read. I couldn’t find a word out of place.’ Alexandra Fuller, author of ‘Don’’ Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight’
    • ‘From the very first sentence of Catherine Burns’ simultaneously very funny and very poignant book, it is apparent that we are in assured hands. The ambivalence, closeness, and fractious bond of mothers and daughters has rarely been so keenly and beautifully observed. Filled with moments of hilarity and heartbreak, any reader, male or female, who has ever had a mother, will find here vindication and finely calibrated sympathy. It shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that Burns is an indelible literary presence; anyone who has had the privilege to see her act cannot forget her. But still, what an accomplishment it is to find that, on paper, she is also possessed of that rarest and most yearned – for of qualities: a voice.’ David Rakoff