A son’s lessons from his single mother—a twenty five year old widow who took control of her life, defied expectations and raised him into a manhood of his own—from the author of the acclaimed The Accidental Life.
As a child, Terry McDonell imagined epic stories about his father, a fighter pilot who died in World War II. But, as he discovers in this dazzling memoir, the real hero in his life was his mother, Irma, who moved with him to California hoping for a new life and raised him through difficult times.
Like most headstrong boys growing up in mid-century America, McDonell took his mother for granted, never giving her life much thought. He was bright, cocky, and determined to make his own way, separate from her and from his complicated roots. But as he matured, built a career, married, divorced, remarried, and raised his own sons, McDonell came to see that Irma had lived her life in a way that allowed him to discover what he wanted his own life to be. The person he was would be forever tied to Irma’s courage and wisdom and love. From his recollections—a series of colorful, deeply personal, sometimes funny, stunningly composed vignettes—an intriguing and poignant portrait emerges.
Irma is the story of a formidable woman who built the life she wanted as she raised her son to be the kind of man and father he had longed for but never knew.