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Publisher's Summary

A warm, heartfelt memoir of family, loss, and a house jam-packed with decades of goods and memories.

After almost 20 years of caring for elderly parents - first for their senile father and then for their cantankerous 93-year-old mother - author Plum Johnson and her three younger brothers have finally fallen to their middle-aged knees with conflicted feelings of grief and relief. Now they must empty and sell the beloved family home, 23 rooms bulging with history, antiques, and oxygen tanks. Plum thought, How tough will that be? I know how to buy garbage bags. But the task turns out to be much harder and more rewarding than she ever imagined.

Items from childhood trigger difficult memories of her eccentric family growing up in the 1950s and '60s, but unearthing new facts about her parents helps her reconcile those relationships, with a more accepting perspective about who they were and what they valued. They Left Us Everything is a funny, touching memoir about the importance of preserving family history to make sense of the past and nurturing family bonds to safeguard the future.

©2014 Plum Johnson (P)2016 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking

This book was not an exceptional read but I'm very glad I read it. It provoked two kinds of thoughts for me: What kind of mess will I leave for my descendants and what kind of mess will I face as my Mother's home is vacated. I thought the process of sorting and letting go was worthy of this book. Oddly, I got the recommendation from a seatmate on a plane and she knew nothing about me - - but she said every woman who has a parents or is a parent will find themselves in the book. She was correct.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Story Too Slowly Developed

I liked the memoir of a mother's ordinary life and her daughter's relationship with her but it dragged on. I finished it only to find out if Plum kept the house. The book should be read more by mothers and daughters to learn together --once grieving it is too late.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful Book

Wonderfully relatable story that was perfectly written and read. If I had anything negative to say it would be that the story of the dog and the car could have been left out. My only other complaint is that I wish that the book was longer. It was one of those rare ones that I didn't want to end.

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  • Alanna
  • Elora, Ontario, Canada
  • 12-16-16

Surprisingly resonant memoir

Such a touching piece about the universal experience of parents aging and moving on after death. I particularly enjoyed Johnson's descriptions of the Oakville home and the relics within. My only frustration was when the performer mispronounced the name Muskoka.