When I Was Her Daughter

Non-Fiction - Memoir
319 Pages
Reviewed on 12/17/2022
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Author Biography

Leslie Ferguson is a Southern California native and former high school English and psychology teacher and college writing instructor who earned her MA in English Literature and MFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University. A board member of the International Memoir Writers Association and an active member of The San Diego Writers and Editors Guild, Leslie has served as a contest judge, panelist, interviewer, and social media assistant. She enjoys performing her original poetry and stories at Poets Underground and So Say We All’s VAMP. Leslie’s writing centers on loss, love, hope, and the consequences of trauma, and her work has been published in a variety of literary magazines. As an editor and book doctor, one of Leslie’s passions is helping other writers find the courage to tell their own stories and tell them well. She works in the publishing industry and resides in San Diego, California, with one husband and two cats.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

When I Was Her Daughter is a work of non-fiction in the memoir and family social issues subgenres. It is best suited to mature adult readers owing to themes such as grief and abuse, and was penned by author Leslie Ferguson. In this harrowing and often heartbreaking account of children growing up in the shadow of their mother’s mental illness, we see Leslie and her brother struggle to live within the confines of a broken reality. When their mother becomes convinced that unseen forces are out to kill them all, she develops an extreme solution to ensure her children’s safety. But even the interventions of well-meaning outsiders can cause more problems along the way.

Author Leslie Ferguson is to be commended for the insight, honesty, and raw emotion with which she writes about her troubled childhood, and indeed the knock-on effects that such an upbringing has had on her adult life. I felt as though the narrative never strayed into sensationalizing the contents or offering shock value, but was always grounded in understanding the psychology of both her mother and the children at the time. It felt like a deep dive into the world of child welfare, abuse, and mental illness from a totally unique perspective, and it was delivered with the eloquence and emotional balance of someone who wants to help others whilst sharing her experiences. Overall, I would certainly recommend When I Was Her Daughter to memoir fans seeking something unique, well-penned, and meaningful for their next eye-opening read.