The Wall Street Journal's 5 Best Books: Memoirs

May 3rd, 2010

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Five Best Memoirs

Norris Church Mailer remembers her favorite memoirs

1: Losing Mum and Pup, By Christopher Buckley, Twelve, 2009

An only child gets all the toys—and all the responsibilities. Maybe it's a fair trade-off when you also get all the love and attention of two powerful personalities like Bill and Pat Buckley. In “Losing Mum and Pup,” Christopher Buckley takes us with him on a journey through his parents' last days. The beloved child had grown into his parents' referee, marriage counselor and confidant—and, finally, their caregiver and decision-maker. He knew the couple's foibles well and loved them both in spite of everything. (His father's comment about his son's best-selling novel “Boomsday”: “It didn't work for me.”) His mother was prone to telling whoppers at the dinner table, like how the king and queen of England spent holidays with her parents when she was a girl in Canada. The stories were so outrageous that they were veritable works of art. In the end, Christopher—who was a little aghast at his own audacity—told his comatose mother that he forgave her everything. But he didn't really have to tell her. Mothers know these things.

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