Who Killed Mom?

A Delinquent Son’s Meditation on Family, Mortality, and Very Tacky Candles

Steve Burgess

Language / Publisher:
Greystone Books

Critical Praise:

I laughed, I cried. And then I laughed again. I was a willing companion on a trip through the life and times of the Burgess family. And Joan, the mom, is the kind of hero we meet everyday--and may even live with. Steve Burgess is a master storyteller. The candles may be tacky, but the writing is incandescent.
Shelagh Rogers, Host of The Next Chapter on CBC Radio One


One of Canada’s funniest writers, Steve Burgess, tackles his mother’s life and death in a profound, entertaining story.

Memoir, biography, and outrageous comedy make for a perfect blend in the debut book from acclaimed writer. Telling the tale of his mother’s life and death, and along the way laying bare his own struggles as a troubled teenager, Burgess delivers a moving meditation on life and family.

The author’s mother, Joan, barely survived her thirteenth birthday: a rare disorder had made it almost impossible for her to swallow food. Her battle to survive this illness was the first in a lifelong struggle with the demons of her upbringing. As she raised her five children, of whom the author is the youngest, Joan revealed herself to be a strong and remarkably complex woman, despite being a sick parent. This is the story of her family: Joan herself, her husband — a charming United Church minister — and their children, including the alarmingly delinquent Steve.

Who Killed Mom? brims with uproarious anecdotes and one-liners. Whether he’s relating how an ice cream product saved him from a gruesome death on the Trans-Canada, sizing up the rebranding efforts of a woeful Manitoba motel, or depicting daily life in a retirement community, Burgess infuses his tales with plenty of humour. But beneath the book’s hilarity is a penetrating examination of eternal themes: family, mortality, fate, and the enduring value of love.

About the Author(s):

Steve Burgess is an award-winning writer and broadcaster and the winner of two National Magazine Awards and four Western Magazine Awards.