Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop Jr.

George Bishop Jr.’s Letter to My Daughter is narrated by a Louisiana mother whose daughter has just run away from home after a typical fight with her parents.  To cope with the anxiety, the mother writes a demonstrative history of her own teenage angst to provide them some common ground from which to begin anew.

“But believe it or not, I was your age once, and I had the same ugly fights with my parents.  And I promised myself that if I ever had a daughter, I would be a better parent to her than mine were to me.  My daughter, I told myself, would never have to endure the same inept upbringing that I did.”  (Page 4 of ARC)

Laura Jenkins takes her daughter back in time to when she is a young high school girl during the 1970s and the Vietnam War.  She falls in love with a young man, Tim Prejean, but he’s the wrong kind of man in her parent’s eyes.  How can she make them see that he’s exactly the man they should want her to be with and love.  But it all hits the fan one night and she’s sent away to Catholic school even though her family is Baptist.  Charity runs deep at Sacred Heart Academy, but Laura’s love still burns for her sweetheart, Tim.

Bishop’s prose is conversational as Laura continues to write her letter to Elizabeth, whom she named after the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese #43 says, “I shall but love thee better after death,” and her poems would complement this novel well.  There is a great sadness and love in this letter.  Laura wants to make amends to her daughter and to generate the closeness she always dreamed would be between them.

“Up until that day I had known her only as a pale older nun who seemed unnaturally preoccupied with grammar; she smelled musty, like a library, and she rustled when she walked, like her very insides were made of parchment.”  (page 35 of ARC)

“And then there was silence:  black silence, that in the moments as I gripped the phone seemed to grow deeper and deeper until it was black as the dark spaces between the stars.” (page 59 of ARC)

Bishop’s prose is poetic and easily absorbing, transporting readers to a tumultuous time in U.S. history when the country was divided about war.  But as young men and women engaged one another in high school, how would these larger issues have impacted them?  Letter to My Daughter answers these questions in a way that will tear into the hearts of readers, generate a profound sympathy and confusion about what motivates humans to make war, and how teens handle not only the typical struggles they face of which boy to date and which dress to wear, but also the larger issues that permeate their lives.

About the Author:

George Bishop, Jr. graduated with degrees in English Literature and Communications from Loyola University in New Orleans before moving to Los Angeles to become an actor. He later traveled overseas as an English teacher to Czechoslovakia, Turkey and Indonesia before returning to the States to earn his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, where he studied under Clyde Edgerton, Wendy Brenner, and Rebecca Lee.

Giveaway; I have one copy of the book for U.S./Canada only:

1.  Leave a comment about whether you think a male can do justice to the mother-daughter relationship.

2.  Blog, Tweet, Facebook, etc. the giveaway and leave me a link.

Deadline is May 11, 2010, 11:59 PM EST.

Check the other stops on the tour.

This is my 4th book for the 2010 Vietnam War Reading Challenge.

This is my 30th book for the 2010 New Authors Challenge.


  1. You’re review was posted here on War Though the Generations. LOL

  2. This sounds like a wonderful book. It seems I always enjoy books by male authors who do a very good job writing female characters. I think Richard Russo is such an author. It sounds like George Bishop is too! I believe a male author can do justice to the mother-daughter relationship. I also think that being always on the outside of it looking in, males bring a different and interesting perspective to the mother-daughter relationship.
    I would love to win this book. Please enter me in your giveaway!

    Thank you for a wonderful review!
    ~ Amy
    [email protected]
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Book Review, Orange is the New Black =-.

  3. Please disregard my multiple tweets displayed above. None of the tweets I posted yesterday displayed immediately on your blog, so I kept trying to leave a tweet by posting more comments. Upon checking today, I see that they’re all here!

    I’m sorry for the trouble. I would delete the extra comments if I could, but I am unable to delete any comments in the WordPress system.

  4. I believe some thoughtful males exist who could do justice to the mother/daughter relationship.

    Please enter me in this giveaway!

  5. “Tweet” ~ http://twitter.com/cmh512/status/13702743960.
    Thanks, Cindi

  6. I believe that it takes a special kind of man/male to write about the relationship
    between a mother and a daughter! His book sounds fabulous…
    Many thanks, Cindi

  7. I imagine a lot of people are going to read the book to see if a male author can pull off mother-daughter relationships. Female authors write about male characters all the time and no one every questions their ability to do so. We’ve had some great male authors who have written from the female perspective – the firsgt name to pop in my mind is Wally Lamb.

  8. Think it can be done but not by every male. A rather exceptional male it would have to be.
    .-= Mystica´s last blog ..Review – Who Killed Bianca? by Emma Darcy =-.

  9. AmandaSue says

    I think its rather interesting that its written by a male. I would imagine that he did research and wouldn’t of wrote this if he didn’t feel comfortable with his knowledge. I can’t say much more then that since I was raised without a mother so I dont even know what a real mother daughter relationship is like. Either way it sounds like a book I’d love a chance to read.


  10. In a way, I think a man may be able to do a better job at giving the tumultuous mother-daughter relationship justice. Many men would’ve observed this relationship at some point in their lives, whether it be between their mother and sister or wife and daughter, etc., yet as impartial observers, they would probably have insights that the mother and daughter are not able to see themselves.

  11. I think a good male author could certainly do justice to this relationship. He probably has some female input as well.

  12. Susan Helene Gottfried says

    Cool premise; I’d totally be into it. No need to enter me, however — the TBR mountains seem to grow faster than shrink.

    I’m dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I’ve got this posted at Win a Book for you.
    .-= Susan Helene Gottfried´s last blog ..Letter to my Daughter =-.

  13. I’m really looking forward to reading this one for the tour. Sounds like it gives you a lot to think about. No need to enter me, but I added the giveaway to my sidebar.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..National Poetry Month Blog Tour: The Girl’s Thoughts on Shel Silverstein =-.

  14. Excellent review, Serena. I love that you found the prose ‘poetic.’ With your deep admiration and knowledge of poetry, that’s saying a lot coming from you!

    Thank you so much for being on the tour!

  15. Really enjoyed your review, Serena. I recently won a book from you (just got my copy of the Umrigar book – thank you!) so no need to enter me in the contest but yes, I do think a good writer can make it believable.

    Anyway I’m off to put this book on my radar!
    .-= iliana´s last blog ..Looking Forward =-.

  16. Sandra K321 says

    When I started reading the description, I had to go back and check the author again because it seemed odd to me that a male was writing a book about a mom and her daughter’s relationship. If a writer is good, then he can make this work.

  17. Sounds like an interesting read. I was surprised it was written by a man though! : )
    .-= Jenners´s last blog ..Week In Review – 5/2/10 =-.

  18. Fantastic review of a wonderful book! No need to enter me.


  1. West Of Mars — Win A Book! » Blog Archive » Letter to my Daughter says:

    […] George Bishop Jr’s got a cool-sounding new book. It’s called Letter to my Daughter, and it’s about a mom who understands teenage angst. Definitely a new twist on things! […]

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