Things You've Inherited From Your Mother
by Hollie Adams
Find at your local bookstore
978-1-927063-83-5 | 2015 May | 186 Pages
ABOUT THIS BOOK
• Shortlisted for the Cover Design Award at the 2016 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!
Everyone deals with grief in their own personal way. Take Carrie, for example. To get over her mother’s death from ovarian cancer, she launches a passive-aggressive war with her fellow office workers, embarks on a campaign designed to let her ex-husband know she’s over him (which naturally only pushes her teenage daughter farther away), and plots to rid herself of her mother’s overweight cat, all the while consuming heroic quantities of red wine, spiked coffee, and coffin nails. Nobody’s perfect.
Situated at the midpoint between booze-soaked mayhem and middle-aged ennui, Things You’ve Inherited from Your Mother is a riotous assemblage of found objects, Choose Your Own Adventure-style in-jokes and useful facts about mice. In her startlingly funny first novel, Hollie Adams takes the conventional wisdom about “likeable” literary heroines and shoves it down an elevator shaft.
“Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother rocks—like a small boat on an ocean of discontent. Hollie Adams’ debut is inventive, authentic, energetic and so funny I nearly peed myself.”
~ Cassie Stocks, author of Dance, Gladys, Dance
“Hollie Adams has boldly tossed most first-novel conventions out the window.”
~ Traci Skuce, The Coastal Spectator
“This is an impressive debut from a talented Alberta writer.”
~ Kelsey Attard, WordFest Calgary
“Accessible, energetic and humorous!”
~ Angie Abdou, Quill and Quire
“This is a quick read and it is pure comedy gold if you have a fondness for bumbling heroines bent on self-sabotage.”
~ BookNAround Blog
“Adams possesses a comedic gift, [a] memorable debut.”
~ The Discerning Reader
“This book was absolutely hilarious!”
~ Book-Loving Hippo
“At its best, Things You've Inherited From Your Mother realizes the inability of some people—we all know one or two—to be authentic, with the genuine humanity behind their smarminess only peeking through in times of disaster.”
~ Bryn Evans, Alberta Views
“A very different story and it will chuckle you to the possibility of a redemption—or maybe just a recovery.”
~ Patricia's Wisdom
“I couldn't help laughing out loud.”
~ No More Grumpy Bookseller
“The prose remains buoyant even when the narrator is sinking. And the novel’s structure is tightly knit, so that the final words leave readers with an understanding that the simple fact that readers are holding this story in their hands demonstrates that Carrie’s means of coping with her grief were effective after all.”
~ Buried in Print
“Hollie Adams has a dark and wicked sense of humor. Luckily, I do too—so I giggled, chortled, snorted, and laughed aloud as I read her first published missive.”
~ Books and Bindings
“Adams' humor is sharp and witty and keeps the story rolling through the landmines of life.”
~ Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews
“Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother is the perfect choice for escaping stressful situations.”
~ Jessica McIntosh, Fort McMurray Today
Tuesday your mother died. Ovarian cancer.
Last Tuesday she refused to drink the hospital’s coffee-flavoured coffee, asked you to pretty-please drive to that coffee shop with the elaborate coffee that tastes like not-coffee, the coffee that tastes like what rich French people eat for dessert.
“Crème Brûlée would be preferable but I’ll settle for Belgian Chocolate.” She nodded towards her hospital room door as if to say, “Well, what’re you waiting for?”
When you asked her which coffee shop she was talking about, she only made a fluttering motion with her hand, and said, “Oh, you know, any of them that have the good stuff.”
You took your time collecting your things from the beside table: a sad-looking wallet, depressed in the middle from a run-in (or run-over) with a car tire (yours); a lid-less ChapStick, the top of which has grown fuzzy from pocket lint; a series of interconnected key-rings linked to a plastic sprinkle donut keychain; a celebrity gossip magazine swiped from the hospital waiting room, the bottom right-hand corner of the cover ripped off to protect the subscriber’s anonymity. You moved your body as if swimming in a cream-based soup, lifting your purse slowly to demonstrate what an epic feat of strength it was, saying nothing, because if you gave her some time and made a little show of it, she would suddenly remember her manners, open the top drawer, hand you a bill. A five at least.
But she only added: “Don’t forget I’m off dairy. But none of that soy crap either. Lord knows I have enough estrogen coursing through these veins.”
You looked to the coat-rack-like apparatus beside her bed, flicked the clear, fluid-filled baggie hanging from it like a giant cartoon raindrop with the nail of your index finger.
“Oh, so that’s what’s in there. Pure estrogen! Silly doctors. No wonder you’re not getting any better.” You patted the top of her head, regretting it instantly, fearing her hair, now the consistency of candy floss, would be pushed right off her head by the force of your affection.
“If you would’ve taken ten minutes out of your busy schedule to read that article I gave you, you’d be off dairy and soy too. Dairy causes cervical cancer. The Swedes have confirmed it.”
“And what does soy milk cause? Brain cancer?”
“And bloating.” She chin-pointed at your midsection.
“Hey, buddy, my eyes are up here.” And you felt glad to be crossing the room towards the door, towards the outside world, even if only to go search the city in rush-hour traffic, hoping you had enough gas to find a mythical cup of non-dairy-non-soy, yet somehow still milked coffee you’d have to charge to your credit card.
Did she believe that if she drank cow’s milk now in the throes of one type of terminal cancer, she would also develop another type of terminal cancer? Did she think switching to almond milk would cure her incurable cancer? Or was she just trying to find your limits, test your willingness to help her finish the craft project she’s working on from page 29 of Sewing With Cat Hair, pushing you until you called her bluff?
How did you deal with her? You must be a saint, a wizard. You should write a book. A how-to self-help manual. For daughters dealing with their impossible dying mothers.
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