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Daughter of Family G: A Memoir of Cancer Genes, Love and Fate

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  111 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Weaving together family history, genetic discovery, and scenes from her life, Ami McKay tells the compelling, true-science story of her own family's unsettling legacy of hereditary cancer while exploring the challenges that come from carrying the mutation that not only killed many people you loved, but might also kill you.

The story of Ami McKay's connection to a genetic
Hardcover, First Canadian Edition, 320 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Knopf Canada
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Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a captivating story - wasn't able to put it down. I thought, based on the subject matter that if would be super depressing but it was completely the opposite - hopeful.
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book. I received a copy through a contest and delayed starting to read it as the topic seemed so daunting. When I finally opened it and read the first page, I was immediately enthralled and knew I was in good hands. McKay is a brilliant storyteller and one of my favourite authors. I should have known that I'd be fine. She has woven together intergenerational stories with history, science, moral questions, complicated families and simple joys into a fascinating memoir which puts a ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, memoir, nonfiction
McKay’s decision to structure this memoir by interweaving stories from various time periods helps make the story compelling. That, coupled with her own honest voice, makes what could be a very specific memoir become very relatable. Though we may not have wrestled with this particular problem, who among us hasn’t confronted family stories and family legacies in some way? McKay’s ability to describe the deep love her family shares is also a highlight.
Peggy Walt
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A wonderful and moving story, well told by Ami McKay.
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful read. It may be my most favourite book by this author!
Olivia Lavery
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Daughter of Family G is a brilliant medical memoir about a woman who tests positive for a genetic mutation called Lynch Syndrome that makes her highly susceptible to a variety of cancers. Ami McKay, a radio documentarian and successful novelist, was raised in a family plagued by cancer and became one of the first people to be genetically tested for Lynch Syndrome. Her story is not only about illness, but also about learning to live - and be happy - with the cards you've been dealt in life.

Danielle Kemp
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An insightful journey through her family history, Ami McKay’s “Daughter of Family G” is brilliant. Flipping between past and present, McKay describes her family’s struggle with cancer, and how instrumental her great-great-aunt was in the research into the disease’s genetic component. She also beautifully recounts her own life story, pulling the reader in as she describes her life’s journey. I loved reading this novel. More than just a historical account of Lynch syndrome research, McKay’s ...more
Lisa Pcenicni
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I received an ARC copy from Goodreads. This was read in one day. I could not put it down. Ami has an amazing gift of weaving the story together. I feel honoured to have had the chance to read this early. Must read. Thank you!
Dorothy Young
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read Ami’s other three books and enjoyed them.

The eugenics parallel between the US government in the early 20th century and Hitler was eye opening for me. It also resonated with me as to what is going on in the US today where immigrant children are being separated from their parents.

This is a fascinating memoir. Ami skillfully weaves the past and the present into her family’s story. Lynch syndrome is explained. I’m not sure I would want to know if I was a previvor because there is no
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have just finished reading my favourite book of 2019! I have enjoyed the author's previous fiction books. This is the 117th book I've read. I felt like I was reading a book written by a friend. I rarely rea non fiction so I am surprised how much I enjoyed this book. It made me cry, laugh, and take notes of favourite sentences, which I have never do without it being a book club selection. I knew very little of hereditary cancer. I live with fibromyalgia and the attitudes of Ami and her mother ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Daughter of Family G is a well researched, honest, entertaining, educational and heart gripping memoir. I was anticipating the release of this book simply because it was written by Ami McKay. I had planned to sit back relax and enjoy and could not put it down. The story of Family G is amazing. You don't have to be from a family tragically plagued by cancer to appreciate and value the history and the contribution to science of Family G. What a gift to her family to have Ami McKay write their ...more
Madeline Nixon
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was such a gorgeously done book. I hesitate to read memoirs because I find that they’re never fully what I want them to be. Often that’s because the author of the memoir isn’t an author by profession. In this case, I’ve read almost everything by Ami McKay so I know what she’s capable of and her writing style. This book was just as beautiful as her fiction. Such an emotional, touching, and beautiful story. I loved how each of the timelines were weaved together and how the strong women of ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well researched, never morbid, honest dealing with a very difficult topic. Ami McKay tells her family's story and their struggle with cancer in a way that is compelling and very informative. I had never heard of Lynch syndrome, but after reading this memoir, I find myself researching it and talking to people about it. The style of writing is very good and the pages turn fast. I recommend this book to all healthy and unwell people.
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was completely captivated by this book. The subject is difficult but Amy McKay brings her magical story-telling ability to create a beautiful story. I loved the way she weaved stories from different times periods together to create an overall picture. I was also interested to read about the fine lines between scientific discovery and how things can go so wrong, as in using the discovery of a genetic mutation to justify mass sterilization, and worse.
Thank you for this book Ms. McKay.
Ramona Jennex
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most powerful books I have read. The author shares her family's history with the genetic disorder (Lynch Syndrome) from 1895 to present day. Although this book may appear to be a medical story it is so much more. This book is a true love story and I highly recomment it. It is authentic and moving so be prepared to need a few tissues.
Ashley Fisher
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, loved
This is one of the most intriguing, emotional, and wonderful memoirs I've ever read. The history of Family G is fascinating, but reading it from the perspective of someone within the family (and affected by the Lynch syndrome gene) gave it more gravity than any scientific article I've read about it. It's a story of great struggle, great scientific discoveries, and overwhelming optimism in the face of over 100 years of adversity.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I heard the author interviewed on CBC radio - ordered the book the library - picked it up and then thought - I don't think I will read this - too depressing perhaps. Then I did pick it up and read the first few pages - and finished it. Very interesting and not really as dire as I had expected.
I was not engaged with this book (audio version).
Marci -
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Ami for sharing your story and the genetics behind it.
Nicole Myers
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written memoir, made up of a love story, historical imaginings, and honesty. Some of the best creative non-fiction I've ever read.
Marta Pelrine-Bacon
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure--I know the author, but I did buy my own copy of the book. And it is a lovely book of a compelling story well told. Read this and read Ami's novels too.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love memoirs that involve family history. When I found out Ami had written one, I grew very excited. She does not disappoint. Highly recommend.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir, family
A brilliant, sensitivity written memoir of caner in the family, and an absolutely fascinating glimpse of how inherited disease has been treated over the last hundred years.
Cindy Mac Jac
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
SCARY!!!! F ! Cancer !!!!!!!!!
Lillian Leonard
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant read.
Robyn Tocker
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
McKay manages to convey such hope in her memoir - it was impossible to put down. Full review here:
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Carol Annett
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Oct 13, 2019
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AMI McKAY is the author of three internationally bestselling novels--The Birth House, The Virgin Cure and The Witches of New York, as well as the recent yuletide novella, Half Spent Was the Night.

Her latest book, a memoir: Daughter of Family G, had its beginnings in a radio documentary she wrote and produced tracing her decision to undergo genetic testing. The documentary won a Silver Medallion