Dear Mom and Dad: A Letter About Family, Memory, and the America We Once Knew (Hardcover)
A remarkably poignant writer for our troubled times, Patti Davis writes about love, loss, and the power of redemption in this poetic letter to her long-gone parents.
Written with dignity and grace in the form of a letter to her parents, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Dear Mom and Dad is that surprisingly poignant work that succeeds not only as a memoir but as a moving account that will inspire readers to recall their own childhoods in a totally new light.
Eager to retell the narrative of her own family and her coming-of-age, Patti Davis casts aside misperceptions that defined her in the past. Far from being the enfant terrible, Dear Mom and Dad reveals young Patti as a sensitive child, who was not able to be the public person her family demanded. Just as she re-examines her own role in an increasingly dysfunctional family drama, Davis casts an empathetic yet honest eye on her parents—on her father, the eternal lifeguard, who saved seventy-seven people, yet failed to create a coherent AIDS policy, and her mother, who never escaped her own tortured youth.
What comes across are Davis’s burnished skills as a writer, something she always dreamed of becoming. Even as she unravels her mother’s highly edited persona, and her father’s loving but distant personality, Davis remains steadfast in her artistic expression, as she melds irony, comedy, and tragedy with dreamlike memories of an ever-present past. Dear Mom and Dad, with its account of her father’s Alzheimer's and her mother’s end-of-life struggles, becomes an account of forgiveness, reaching levels of redemption rarely found in contemporary memoirs.
About the Author
Patti Davis is the daughter of Nancy and Ronald Reagan and the author of many books, both fiction and nonfiction, including Floating in the Deep End and The Long Goodbye. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times.
The daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan offers an intimate glimpse into the life she shared with her two iconic parents . . . Humane, elegiac, and wise, this book moves smoothly through its portrait of a complicated family and of the daughter who learned the lessons of patient acceptance that family had to offer. A fully candid and profoundly moving memoir.
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Patti Davis is a beautiful writer—both poetic and insightful. The way she wrestles with memory and the chains of the past that need to be broken, as well as the threads to her legacy that she wants to wind tighter, resonated with me deeply.
— Rosanne Cash, musician and author of Composed
In a few pages Patti Davis tells us more about Ronald Reagan than all of the long biographies that have been written about him.
— Michael Korda, author of Charmed Lives
This book is harrowing and historic, a ‘wow’ of intimacy, with many confessions of regrets. . . . Beautifully written.
— Lesley Stahl, CBS News Correspondent for 60 Minutes
With the evocative and provocative title Dear Mom and Dad, Patti Davis reflects with deep candor her remembrances, regrets, and search for family connection. When “Dad” and “Mom” are Ronald and Nancy Reagan, the connection was not only elusive, but one that had to be shared with the world. This book is an invocation for all of us to cultivate a deeper understanding of family and connection.
— Marg Helgenberger, actor