#Bookreview – Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010 by Geoff Le Pard

What Amazon says

When my father died in 2005, I assumed my mother would need more support and someone to help with decisions she previously shared with her husband. What I didn’t realise was the role she had in mind for me: a sort of Desmond 2.0. Over the five years until her death, I played the role of apprentice, learning more about her and her relationship with my father than I had gleaned in my previous 50 years. We laughed, we cried and, occasionally we disagreed, and throughout she manipulated me as, I learnt, she had my father. Neither of us minded much; we were both her so willing fools, for she was an extraordinary woman and we both knew we were in the presence of someone very special.

My review

Apprenticed to My Mother is a delightful memoir written by a devoted son and depicts his younger years, growing up under the guidance of his parents, and his later years when the tables turn and his parents rely on him for certain things.

There are lots of things I loved about this book. I enjoyed the author’s description of his mother who is everything I admire: hard working, strong willed, devoted to her family and an excellent cook and baker. I love baking and am always pleased to read about other women who enjoy it too. A lot of family life revolves around food and eating, so a mother that cooks is always nice for children.

I enjoyed the anecdotes to the author’s younger years and some of the mischief he got up to with his brother. They both were very bright boys and quite typical, getting themselves into messes and injuring themselves. I liked that the boys had to help around the family home as I believe that instills good habits in children and the knowledge that you have to work if you want to achieve in life, whether it is planting a garden, building a career or moving house.

The author’s father sounds like a great chap. He was clearly devoted to his wife and sons and there are some delightful poems which he wrote for her and for various family events included in the book. Mr Le Pard senior was a gifted poet and most romantic too.

This book takes the reader on an entertaining journey of life growing up in an English town and a family enjoying, and making the most of, the ordinary things that comprise everyday life. It was interesting to see how the lives of both the parents and the sons changed over the years and how their roles also changed, with the parents becoming more reliant on guidance from the author as they aged. It felt, to me, that this book described the best things about being English and life in England.

I hope that one day when I am elderly, my sons will treat me with as much love and respect as the author demonstrated for his parents and, in particular, his mother to whom he becomes “apprenticed” after the death of his father.

My favourite poem in the book is called A Paratrooper’s Prayer, and these are the last three stanzas:
“And if it be Thy Will, God
Part of Thine Own Great Plan
That my life should stop, then on that last long drop
Oh God, let me die a man!

While I’m waiting to emplane, God
And I’m checking my jumping kit
Thugh I laugh and jeer I’m full of fear
But, God don’t let me quit.

When the kite begins to move, God
And take off time is near
Then my heart grows cold – God, make me bold
And drive away my fear.”

This poem reminds me of my favourite poem, IF by Rudyard Kipling.

I recommend this book to people who enjoy reading memoirs and books about families and their lives as well as delightful poetry.

Purchase Apprenticed to My Mother by Geoff Le Pard

29 thoughts on “#Bookreview – Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010 by Geoff Le Pard

  1. I too loved this book for many of the same reasons. The relationship between a son and his mother is very special as you must find as well. A great review of an awesome book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t think of it that way, Kerfe, but you are right. There are a lot of dysfunctional families out there and they do tend to get all the attention. There are plenty of fantastic families out there and it’s good to remember that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed reading about Geoff’s mum. She sounds absolutely delightful. I’d love my son to write a book with so many kind words about me. I’m sure Geoff’s mum would love to read it.


  3. “This book takes the reader on an entertaining journey of life growing up in an English town and a family enjoying, and making the most of, the ordinary things that comprise everyday life.” That line hooked me, Robbie. It makes the book sound like a delightful read. Thanks for the excellent recommendation. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Robbie – this book sounds good. Although I’m not a son, I can relate to this special time of a parent/child relationship. After my father died, my mother and I, and also my mother and my siblings, had relationships like what you describe. It’s a very moving time of life. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

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