Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother is the first novel from Red Deer’s Hollie Adams (published by Edmonton’s NeWest Press). It features thirtysomething-year-old Carrie, as she–rather hilariously–spirals out of control following the death of her mother.
The book features several laugh-out-loud moments, as Carrie’s attempts to cope become more and more self-destructive. With one exception late in the book, though, I could empathize with her actions and reactions along the way, even though they largely aren’t doing her any good.
The comedic timing of Adams’s writing (and actually, the subject matter) is similar to that of Roost by Ali Bryan (who was at Wordfest in 2013). But whereas Bryan’s protagonist Claudia has to remain at least superficially grounded after her mother’s death for the sake of her preschool-aged children, Carrie’s 16-year-old daughter is nearly grown and more or less independent, freeing Carrie to be more eccentric, more selfish, more self-destructive–and drift further away from day-to-day reality and responsibilities. It makes the tone of the book considerably different, even though there are many parallels.
I read Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother in basically one sitting. It’s an incredibly zippy, entertaining, and quick read. I think that Carrie will be polarizing–some will love her and others will just hate her (which is good!). This is an impressive debut from a talented Alberta writer.
Reviewed by Kelsey Attard