BRANDON, MB — Now based in Vancouver, Brandon-raised writer and broadcaster Steve Burgess will be back in his hometown to give a reading on campus from his newly released book “Who Killed Mom? A Delinquent Son’s Meditation on Family, Mortality and Very Tacky Candles.”
As his mother begins to decline in her old age–suffering from Parkinson, esophageal and thyroid problems, a possible brain lesion, and restless leg syndrome, Steve, his father and his four siblings gather to support her during her prolonged ordeal. Using a perfect blend of memoir, biography, and at times outrageous comedy, Steve tells the story of his mother’s life and death, while laying his own struggles bare along the way.
His mother, Joan, had always been a fighter. She’d barely survived her thirteenth birthday due to a rare disorder that 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, yet as she raised her five children, of whom the author is the youngest, she revealed herself to be a strong and remarkably complex woman. This is the story of her family: Joan herself, her husband — a charming United Church minister —and their children, including the alarmingly delinquent Steve.
The writer expertly brings humour into this moving meditation on life and family, and 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 laughs.
But the book is grounded in heart-warming family tales, such as the time his mother threw away some tacky, yet beloved, Christmas candles, only to have her children exact their revenge by giving her heaps of tacky replacement candles as gifts. Beneath the book’s hilarity is a penetrating examination of eternal themes: family, mortality, fate, and the enduring value of love.
Steve’s work has garnered two Canadian National Magazine Awards. He is the former host of @the end, a nationally broadcast talk show on CBC Newsworld, and a frequent CBC Radio guest host. His stories have been featured in Reader’s Digest editions around the world, as well as Maclean’s, the Globe and Mail, and other publications. Who Killed Mom? is his first book.
Steve Burgess will give a reading at 1 p.m., on Monday, April 11, in the Louis Riel Room, next to the dining hall. Everyone is welcome to attend and admission is free. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at that time.
For more information, please contact:
Joanne F. Villeneuve
270 – 18th Street
Brandon, MB R7A 6A9
- Brandon University
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