Mother’s Day is approaching here in Australia, so those with mothers and mother-like influences in their lives are busily scouring catalogues for potential gifts. Books are often a no-brainer because, well… who doesn’t like reading?! Please note that’s a rhetorical question and I remain in denial there are people out there who don’t.
Dear Mum, comprising letters by well-known Aussies is a timely release from Hachette; one I’m sure isn’t coincidental. I was worried this would be a bit sentimental for me, so I asked my own mother (who’s an avid consumer of books) to read it and offer me her thoughts. She enjoyed it and tells me there’s something for everyone.Dear Mum
by Samuel Johnson
Published by Hachette Australia
Source: Hachette Australia
Samuel Johnson, Amanda Keller, Vika and Linda Bull, Guy Pearce, Elizabeth Tan, Rebecca Gibney, Peter Helliar, Clare Wright, Hilde Hinton, Gillian O'Shaughnessy, Adam Spencer, Brooke Davis, Lawrence Mooney, Patti Newton, Shane Jacobson, Julie Koh, Susie Youssef, Lehmo, Favel Parrett, Matilda Brown and many more ...
A heartfelt, honest and very human book of letters that will make you smile and make you cry. It is the perfect gift for the mum in your life. And a reminder to tell her how you feel before it is too late.
Samuel Johnson, Australian actor now equally well-known for his Love Your Sister fundraising campaign and activism has assembled a collection of letters, written by Australian celebrities to their mothers. It’s a disparate curation but the diversity means it works well. Mum said some of the letter-writers weren’t familiar to her but it didn’t necessarily impact on how much she enjoyed, or related to, those letters.
The letters are of various lengths – Johnson’s letter to his (estranged) mother comprised 8 pages. His sister Hilde Hinton’s just 8 words. This book is in hard cover and most letters are accompanied by a whimsical illustration by Shaun Tan, so it really is the perfect gift.
Mum wrote down lots of quotes; phrases that jumped out at her. Authors described their mothers, as ‘the most important person in their lives’. Or ‘the person who puts everybody else’s happiness before their own.’ They called them ‘their rock’ or ‘benchmark’.
She liked the phrase ‘the mum hug’ and said many letter-writers thought they had the best mum. Of course it saddened her to read letters by those whose relationship with their mother wasn’t a happy one (Johnson’s for example).
Her favourite quote was one by Amanda Keller who writes, ‘Love is a doing word.’
This book is full of memories, she tells me. Childhood memories, first memories and final memories.
Some had the chance to say goodbye to their mothers and some didn’t. They talked about missing mothers no longer in their lives at Christmas and on Mother’s Day. At the time of writing some had been kept apart because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
I’m not sure what I’d say in a letter to my own mother. I’m not good at talking about how I feel and struggle with the ‘L’ word, but I’m certain she knows how important she is to me. With no partner or family of my own, she’s my everything.
Dear Mum, edited by Samuel Johnson was published in hard cover in Australia by Hachette and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.