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Publisher's Summary

National best seller

"A phenomenal, human story.... I could not put this book down." (Clara Hughes)

An instant national best seller, this raw and affecting memoir is the story of a mother and daughter who beat the odds together.

Decades before Perdita Felicien became a World Champion hurdler running the biggest race of her life at the 2004 Olympics, she carried more than a nation's hopes - she carried her mother Catherine's dreams.

In 1974, Catherine is determined and tenacious, but she's also pregnant with her second child and just scraping by in St. Lucia. When she meets a wealthy white Canadian family vacationing on the island, she knows it's her chance. They ask her to come to Canada to be their nanny - and she accepts.

This was the beginning of Catherine's new life: a life of opportunity, but also suffering. Within a few years, she would find herself pregnant a third time - this time in her new country with no family to support her, and this time, with Perdita. Together, in the years to come, mother and daughter would experience racism, domestic abuse, and even homelessness, but Catherine's will would always pull them through.

As Perdita grew and began to discover her preternatural athletic gifts, she was edged onward by her mother's love, grit, and faith. Facing literal and figurative hurdles, she learned to leap and pick herself back up when she stumbled. This book is a daughter's memoir - a book about the power of a parent's love to transform their child's life.

©2020 Perdita Felicien (P)2020 Doubleday Canada

What the critics say

AN INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER
Shortlisted for the 2022 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
A CBC Best Canadian Nonfiction Book of 2021

"[A] beautifully written and compelling memoir." Toronto Star

"So captivating is the story of Cathy Felicien Browne's life . . . that by the time her daughter Perdita runs her first sprint halfway through the book, you might have forgotten all about the fact that the author is former World Champion hurdler Perdita Felicien. . . . In this inspiring memoir, Felicien . . . recounts the despair and the triumphs like a champion." —The Globe and Mail 

"Perdita Felicien takes on the ambitious feat of chronicling an intergenerational story of resilience and succeeds with unflinching clarity. Her controlled and poised prose details raw and often messy emotions with intelligence and compassion, while the fierce honesty with which she writes emphasizes the magnitude of maternal love and the bonds of family. A memoir with a commanding voice, My Mother’s Daughter is a love letter to mother-daughter relationships." —Zalika Reid-Benta, Giller Prize-nominated author of Frying Plantain 

Featured Article: 8 Hidden Gems of Canadian Memoir

A quick search brings up lists of the memoir bestsellers: stories of celebrities, athletes, politicians and the rest. But what about the lesser-known stories? Unknown books? The unsung heroes? These memoirs can be just as - if not more - powerful, often because listeners can relate to them on a more personal level. We’ve compiled 8 of the finest hidden gems books of the memoir genre that tell these underrated but no less powerful real-life stories.

What listeners say about My Mother's Daughter

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Inspiring!

Inspiring, powerful, and uplifting. An absolute privilege to read your book. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

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Golden Perdita

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to these stories of overcoming, triumph, loss and resilience. I audibly gasped, laughed, cheered and was deeply moved by Perdita and her mother’s story. Beautifully told, pure gold.

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Excellent

Great illustration about the strength and perseverance of Black women. It hit close to home and reminded me of my struggles. Thank you for this masterpieces

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A must read!

A beautiful, raw, and inspiring story that feels familiar. A must read for anyone living the human experience. Perdita, her mother and their story prove that life truly has the meaning you choose to give it and becomes what you make it.

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An honest story about tenacity and love

Perdita captivates her listeners with expressive words and pictures. Her story of accomplishment through the hardship of an immigrant family and ultimate success as a world champion athlete would entice any reader. I especially enjoyed listening to her story told in her own voice.

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Strong Mom

Such a great story. Truly enjoyed listening. Thank you for sharing Perdita. Grateful to your Mom to be such a strong woman.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-05-18

Impactful story, beautifully written and told by the author.

As a runner, I came for Perdita’s ‘sport’ story, but left with so so much more. This is a wonderful book, so beautifully written and told by the author. I enjoyed hearing the stories from Perdita herself, who exudes so much passion and love for family as she navigates telling the tough stories of hardship her mother faced through immigration to Canada and how the strength of her mother fostered her ability to become a world champion. This is an important read for all Canadians and a reminder to never count out the power and impact of strong women who are ready to fight for their dreams.