Thursday Thirteen – Thirteen Things to Know About the Main Character, Laura in the novel, “Letter to My Daughter” by George Bishop

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In my novel Letter to My Daughter, the main character is a woman named Laura whose teenage daughter has just run away from home. Wracked with guilt and seeking reconciliation, she tries to put down in a letter “everything I’ve always meant to tell you but never have.”

Here are 13 things that you should know about Laura:
1. She wears a tattoo below her right hip, the meaning of which she’s never revealed to her daughter Elizabeth.

2. When Laura was fifteen and growing up in the small town of Zachary, Louisiana, she imagined that everyone in the world lived a more glamorous and exciting life than she did.

3. The first boy Laura ever loved was Tim Prejean, a poor Cajun kid who loved radios and hunting.

4. Halfway through her freshman year of high school, Laura’s parents sent her away to a Catholic boarding school in Baton Rouge.

5. Laura’s best friends at school were girls that the other students called “charity cases.”

6. While in high school, she discovered a love of reading and a talent for writing.

7. Laura’s favorite teacher in high school was Sister Mary Margaret, Freshman Rhetoric.

8. She still remembers some of the poetry she had to memorize for Sister M&M’s class.

9. As a teenager, she wasn’t at all interested in the war in Vietnam, until her boyfriend Tim was sent there to fight.

10. As an adult, she sees parallels between the war in Vietnam and the war in Iraq.

11. Laura also sees parallels between her daughter’s life and her own—although this does little to help her understand why her daughter ran away, or ease the pain she feels while waiting for Elizabeth’s return.

12. When she’s worried, when she wants to try to understand a problem, Laura writes.

13. This one day, waiting for her daughter, will change Laura’s life forever.

About the Book:
Dear Elizabeth,

It’s early morning and I’m sitting here wondering where you are, hoping you’re all right.

A fight, ended by a slap, sends Elizabeth out the door of her Baton Rouge home on the eve of her fifteenth birthday. Her mother, Laura, is left to fret and worry—and remember. Wracked with guilt as she awaits Liz’s return, Laura begins a letter to her daughter, hoping to convey “everything I’ve always meant to tell you but never have.”

In her painfully candid confession, Laura shares memories of her own troubled adolescence in rural Louisiana, growing up in an intensely conservative household. She recounts her relationship with a boy she loved despite her parents’ disapproval, the fateful events that led to her being sent away to a strict Catholic boarding school, the personal tragedy brought upon her by the Vietnam War, and, finally, the meaning of the enigmatic tattoo below her right hip.

Absorbing and affirming, George Bishop’s magnificent debut brilliantly captures a sense of time and place with a distinct and inviting voice. Letter to My Daughter is a heartwrenching novel of mothers, daughters, and the lessons we all learn when we come of age.

About the Author: George Bishop holds an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he won the department’s Award of Excellence for a collection of stories. He has spent most of the past decade living and teaching overseas in Slovakia, Turkey, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, India, and Japan. He now lives in New Orleans.

Find out more about George and this book at Random House’s website.

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