BURGESS, Steve




Author Tags: Humour

Formerly the host of CBC Newsworld's '@the end', writer and broadcaster Steve Burgess' memoir is Who Killed Mom: A Delinquent Son's Meditation on Family, Mortality, and Very Tacky Candles (Greystone, 2011).

[BCBW 2011]

Who Killed Mom?
Catalogue copy (2011)




Memoir, biography, and outrageous comedy make for a perfect blend in the debut book from acclaimed writer Stephen Burgess. Telling the tale of his mother’s life and death, and along the way laying bare his own struggles, Burgess renders 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 sequence of courageous confrontations with medical peril. As she raised her five children, of whom the author is the youngest, Joan revealed herself to be a strong and remarkably complex woman. This is her story, and it’s also the story of her husband, a charming United Church minister, and their children―including the alarmingly delinquent Steve—who who spent much of his adolescence and beyond dropping acid, drinking to excess, and getting in trouble with the law. Which leads him to wonder: was he responsible for his mother’s ills and perhaps even her death? .

Who Killed Mom? brims with uproarious anecdotes and one­liners. Whether he’s relating how an ice cream product saved him from a gruesome death on the Trans­Canada, sizing up the rebranding efforts of a woeful Manitoba motel, or depicting daily life in an old folks’ home, Burgess infuses his tales with plenty of laughs. But beneath the book’s irresistible hilarity is a penetrating examination of eternal themes: family, mortality, fate, and the enduring value of love.