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by Ian Brown

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personal memoirs, women
list price: $29.95
published: 2020

From the author of the multiple award-winner, The Boy in the Moon, a breathtaking family memoir in which he uncover his mother's many secrets in order to understand why her life was filled with regret and why she took that pain out on anyone who tried to love her.

Regret is a son's investigation of his mother's life, an attempt to understand what it was that filled her with shame, anger and regret, uncovering secrets she didn't want investigated. While particular to her times and personal history, the story of Cicely Hida Betts could be the story of any number of women and mothers of her own and subsequent generations. Brown writes, "She was the funniest, and unhappiest, woman I have ever known. She was as astute as she was narrow-minded, as articulate as she was silent. She made my father's life hell and liberally beat me and my brother, and yet was furiously, even neurotically, loving. She was proud of where she came from but ashamed of her past. And she was secretive. She was an avowed foe of liars, but she lied all the time." Especially to her children about her past.
     Regret is the story of a woman of the twentieth century who tried to break away from her narrow childhood, who lost her nerve and retreated, and then claimed to regret that retreat all her life, even though it led to a long marriage and four successful children. It is the story of a woman without power, who insisted upon wielding it anyway, with unpredictable and angry consequences for herself and for the son who loved her. That son hopes it is also a book about forgiveness.

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Contributor notes

IAN BROWN is the author of The Boy in the Moon, a memoir which won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction, the BC National Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and the Trillium Book Award, as well as being named a New York Times Best Book and a Globe and Mail Best Book. A broadcaster and a feature writer for the Globe and Mail, Brown has also won more than a dozen national magazine and newspaper awards. He is currently chair of The Banff Centre's Literary Journalism program.

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About the Author

Ian Brown

Ian Brown is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. Brown’s reporting and writing have won six gold National Magazine awards and two National Newspaper Awards. He is also a contributor to This American Life on U.S. public radio, and host of both CBC Radio’s Talking Books and Canada’s pre-eminent documentary television series, Human Edge and The View From Here. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.

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