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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

"A powerful and inspiring book." (Deborah Dundas, Toronto Star)

"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)

"We are not defined by when we fall; rather, it's the journey of where we come from that holds the deepest definition of self. Perdita Felicien is so much more than a champion athlete. This phenomenal, human story shows a Canada many people will never know, the power of a mother's love for her daughter, and the indefatigable resilience in the face of so much struggle. I could not put this book down." (Clara Hughes, six-time Olympic medalist and author of Open Heart, Open Mind)

What listeners say about My Mother's Daughter

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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.