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If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, a Daughter, a Reporter's Notebook

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  199 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
“Katherine Rosman has a great gift for articulating the yearnings of daughterhood and the mysteries of motherhood.”
— Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor of The Last Lecture

“Katherine Rosman’s voice rings with truth, pain, and hard-won humor as she reports from the heart in this bold, cathartic tale of a daughter’s search to find meaning in her mother’s death.... This book beats with
ebook, 320 pages
Published April 20th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books
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Jun 26, 2010 Kyla rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free
You know those personal history books where the narrator busts out at some point that they are high maintenance and annoying in real life and you nod your head because you know it, you've just spent 300 pages with them and they are annoying and thusly, so is their book about their mother and you wish to throw it at their head.
Lydia LaPutka
Aug 04, 2013 Lydia LaPutka rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: forgeddaboutit
I really, really, REALLY wanted to like this book because I really, really, REALLY enjoy reading Katherine Rosman's column in the newspaper. In fact, I once emailed her and she emailed back! She encouraged me to try her book. Well, I did, and the results aren't pretty.

I have no problem with memoirs. Memoirs can be nice. Memoirs can be memorable, fun, and engaging. This one? Not so much. The author even addressed the fact that this memoir might be a tad self-indulgent. Someone called her on it, a
Jul 05, 2010 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book so much more upon completion and reflection than I actually did reading it. I think it will be a fabulous book to discuss. I have been so blessed to live without illness in my life that to read about the effects of a long-term illness on a family. I typically find memoirs to be written by others who think they are so much more important than they are but Katie Rosman is so different. Her journey is to learn more about others and not herself. She does, of course find herself and ...more
Jan 12, 2014 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book from our Little Free Library and the most important piece of information was confirmation from the author that mother-daughter relationships are complex and multi-layered. Thanks for that! Certainly her message that daughters may *think* they know their mothers, but then find out how little they actually did know is an important take away for all daughters. I wish I knew my mother better, but I accept that I will never really know her interior world no matter much I might l ...more
Gail Rogers
Jun 02, 2011 Gail Rogers rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Did not finish, did not like.
Rachel Kramer Bussel
If You Knew Suzy is unlike any memoir or biography I've ever read; it's intensely personal and poignant, yet Rosman is also every inch the journalist. In setting out to cover her mom's life, and death, she has a plan of sorts: to focus on the parts of her mom's life she didn't know much about, and to investigate why her mother was so reluctant to face the reality of the cancer that ravaged her.

Rosman takes her mother's handwritten address book and attacks it with vigor, calling everyone remotely
Janet Gould
I finished this book, but I am not sure why. I just did not relate to either Suzy, the mother who was dying, or to her daughter Katie, the author of the memoir. I understand what it is like to put everything aside to be with a dying mother during her last weeks and to feel that it is important to find out what made her life meaningful.
BUT Suzy is narcissistic (to be fair, the author did acknowledge this) and just not that interesting. Katie relentlessly pursues everyone that seems to have been e
Jan 08, 2011 Danna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
I absolutely loved this book. Rosman won me over from the first page, with Chapter 1 title PMS (Post-Mortem Shopping). Katherine Rosman writes a memoir of her radiant mother's life. Suzy Rosin, Rosman's mother, passes away from lung cancer. Rosman attempts to capture her mother's spirit and life-story in this witty, brilliant, and profoundly moving book. I found myself laughing out loud as frequently as I cried - what a feat. Suzy is a wild character, and Rosman is a spitfire herself. While writ ...more
The subject is interesting to me and something I often read about because it pertains to me - a memoir about coming to terms to with losing a mother to cancer. However, this wasn't my favorite memoir. It seemed to jump around a lot and I found myself feeling impatient with it many times. I also kept thinking to myself that it seemed so self-absorbed, but then I'd immediately think, well, of course it is, how could such a personal memoir not be? Somehow, instead of drawing me into her world, I fe ...more
This was a heavy read - the author's mom passed away after a long battle with lung cancer. To process of her grief, the author begins contacting former friends and acquaintances of her mother in order to discover other parts of her mom's life. She talks to former Pilates students, a golf caddy, glass collectors, and the architect who designed her mother's dream home (to name a few) and learns something about her mother with each encounter.

The author was easily relatable and as a reporter, was ab
Jan 20, 2011 Lauri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This non-fiction piece is written through the eyes of writer Katherine Rosman, as she explores the rich and complex life of her mother after her death. Much of the story takes place around Detroit, which is interesting. However, I found that a lot of the story dragged. The premise is that Katherine is calling people from her mother’s address book, trying to see who she really was. Sounds interesting, but a great portion of the book is devoted to her mother’s love of clothing and Pilates. The bet ...more
Liz Pollinger
Overall I found this book to be very poignant. I felt at times it was very repetitive, but I suppose this was a necessary part of the author's journey to learn more about her mother after her passing.

In this book the daughter decides to go through her mother's belongings after her passing and try to find out who her mother really was. She contacts people her mother knew by getting their numbers from her phone book and email accounts. As the author interviewed friends and acquaintances she finds,
Mary Kruft
Jun 13, 2010 Mary Kruft rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
"amazing so far....stay tuned!" was what I wrote when I started this book - and it was amazing. I was looking for "4 1/2 stars" to give it - would give it 5 except for one short part where there was TMI on one person in Suzy's life. This book is fabulous - would recommend it to any woman. The author is so honest, funny, self-deprecating, and very smart. You want to be her friend - and you want to "know Suzy." I'm especially touched by the relationships of her stepmom/stepdad/entire family. What ...more
I enjoyed this tribute to Suzy Rosman by her journalist daughter. After her mother dies from cancer at 60, the author interviews friends and acquaintances who interacted with her mother in a wide variety of extracurricular activities from golf, to Pilates to collecting art glass. The writer's reporting skills reveal a down-to-earth and touching portrait of a Detroit (later Tucson) family woman who impacted many lives in important ways that her daughter had not realized. Humorous and realistic -- ...more
Terry Perrel
After her mother's slow, painful death from cancer, a young Wall Street reporter goes on a quest to learn more about her from people whose lives Suzy influenced and vice versa. At the end, I felt as though I knew Suzy Rosin, and her daughter made me care that her mother had lived.
Perhaps I would have given this four stars, if I hadn't been witness to my own stepfather's dying in May and all of the horror that led to it.
Rebecca Dougherty
I really enjoyed this book after I read the first couple chapters but less so as it went on. People with money to spend on designer clothes, collectible glass, new homes, and yoga and Pilate's just aren't that interesting. I appreciated the honesty about the family dynamics between the author, her mother, sister, and blended family members. It's disturbing how it sounds as if her mother never found peace with her impending death, because I fear that myself.
Dana Thompson
I have mixed reviews about this book. I related to this book because of my mother passing away of cancer. There were many things that were said that I can relate to. At times I wish that it would have focused more on her mother or their relationship and less about who she knows. I felt like it the author talked about who she knew and what they had done in their lives instead of focusing on her mother. At times it felt repetitive.
Katherine Rosman, a staff reporter for the Wall Street, wrote a touching but not smarmy bio of her mom Suzy Rosman. Suzy was athletic, thin, beautiful, smart, rich, had friends everywhere, but could still be lonely and very private. After her mother died Katherine Rosman interviewed many of Suzy's friends and learned details about her mom that encouraged and surprised her. This book is a great story about mother/daughter relationships.
Mary Burns
The premise is fascinating -- journalist puts together the story of her mom's life based on conversations with people's whose names she found in her mom's address book. It doesn't live up to the premise, though -- just another in the large collection of women writing memoirs about their childhoods and their relationships with their mothers.
Oct 25, 2010 Kristine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't even remember where I "came up" with this book, but I really enjoyed it. I loved how the daughter reached out to know her mother more deeply, even (spoiler alert!) her mother's death. Makes me wonder about all the unknown (by me) parts of my own mother's life. So grateful that she is still here!!
Jul 24, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing lives--this book was subtle, but seemed so incredibly realistic in the range of emotions that move through a child as a parent dies. I was most touched by the author's own venture into parenthood, without her mother there to help, at the end of the book. Excellent narrative. The length could have been tightened a bit, but overall I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Jun 03, 2010 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. I lost my Mom this year and even though the circumstances of her death were very different, I could relate to the pain of loosing one's Mother. This book made me cry, but it also made me laugh. I am lucky enough to have a very special relationship with my daughter and I hope she will be able to look back at my life and smile.
Oct 29, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually write reviews but I had to for this one. I started this book wanting to love it. And it didn't disappoint. This book lends itself a chance to laugh, cry, love, reflect and connect. Thank you Katie for sharing such an intimate look at your life with your mother.
Joey Stoller
Sad. Very real look at how awful cancer is. Book was reco'd cuz it was written by a friend. It was sometimes a bit pompous to me, but overall, very real, very sad, and very sweet. A look at the life of a woman who died before her time.
Sally Brown
Jun 23, 2010 Sally Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so....i really identified with this mom. (i loved how the author started many many sentences with "my mom".) except for her petite size, extream wealth, our hearts were the same. a little crazy, obsessive, and loves to dance and most importantly.....she was nuts about her daughters.
Susan Baumgartner
May 31, 2011 Susan Baumgartner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author admits the family has money. That's the one angle that makes this story not an "every woman's story". Other than that, this is an honest and real story about dying, death and moving past it that anyone can relate to.
This was quite a piece of investigative journalism. The author dug into her mother's past to learn more about her and it ended up being a worthwhile endeavour. Overall interesting but not people who resonate much with me.
May 10, 2010 Casey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely LOVED this book! I found myself spending as much time reading it as I did reflecting on my own relationship with my Mom. This is a great read for any mothers, daughters, and sisters out there!
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