Katherine Rosman's dedication in her memoir reads "To my mother's grandchildren, so they may know her." First of all, I use the word memoir to describe this book with some reservation. Rosman's book reads like a memoir, but it is really not meant to chronicle her life so much as her mother's. The dedication lets readers know from the outset what this book's purpose is. What it doesn't tell readers is how heartbreaking and touching Rosman's efforts are. I predict that many a reader will wish they had someone willing to research and chronicle the lives of someone they love to preserve a part of them for future generations.
Rosman and her sister Lizzie shared a strong bond with their mother - much like many mother daughter relationships, full of ups and downs, shopping trips, fights, lunches together, phone conversations, advice given, ignored, and taken. When Suzy is diagnosed with late stage lung cancer, her daughters rally around her, providing support. They attend doctor's appointments, spend time in the hospital with her, and even help her place winning bids on eBay to further her collection of rare and beautiful glassware. For two and a half years Lizzie and our author put their own lives on hold to be there for their mother.
We know from the moment we begin reading that Suzy will eventually die from lung cancer and that her daughters will go on living without her. However, in order to do this, Rosman decides she wants to know more about her mother. Perhaps it is only to leave a record behind for her children and nephews and niece, that they may know their grandmother through her writing, yet part of this writing project also helped Rosman come to terms with her mother's death. By contacting people her mother knew (who Rosman may have known of, but did not know personally) she is able to paint a better picture of her mother. She is able to see her as other's saw her: as a dancer, a mentor, a golfer. How interesting it would be for everyone if we were to truly know someone by finding and talking to those people acquainted with them in various settings and walks of life.
If You Knew Suzy was well written. After reading it I feel as though I know Suzy personally, wishing I really had met this woman to compare what I have read of her with the real life version. And Rosman has been able to provide a well chronicled account of her mother, a special and unique woman, proving to everyone that each person's life, no matter how ordinary is truly extraordinary.
Visit Katherine Rosmans' website.