cover image DON'T TELL THE GIRLS: A Family Memoir


Patricia Reilly Giff, . . Holiday, $16.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1813-8

The title of Giff's (Lily's Crossing ) warm memoir are the words with which Nana, her late maternal grandmother, began many of the stories she told her granddaughter. "The girls" were Nana's three daughters, including Giff's mother. Weaving together her memories of her grandmother, as well as snippets of the stories she shared, the author reveals the strong bond between the two and Nana's continued presence in her life. Her close relationship with this grandmother inspired Giff to learn more about Jennie, her paternal grandmother ("If she hadn't died before I was born, would she have shown me pictures, told me I looked like one of her sisters or cousins? Would she have wrapped me in her shawl and sung to me the way Nana had?"). As Giff chronicles her research into Jennie's life—a journey that takes the author to Ireland where, in a poignant moment, she locates the 400-year-old house in which her ancestor was born—the author incorporates anecdotes about other family members as well as engaging details about the period. Neatly bringing her story full circle, Giff encourages her own grandchildren to share the details of their past with their grandchildren ("Maybe it's important for us to know that we share many of the same experiences in life, whether it's in the 1800s, the 1900s, or even in the twenty-first century. Maybe it brings us closer to people"). This affectionate family portrait will appeal to Giff fans of all ages, and anyone with an interest in his or her own genealogy. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)