If you are having difficulty navigating this website please contact us at member.services@bookofthemonth.com or 1-877-236-8540.

Get your first book for $5 with code PETALS at checkout.

Join today!

We’ll make this quick.

First, enter your email. Then choose your move.

By tapping "Pick a book now" or "Pick a book later", you agree to Book of the Month’s Terms of use and Privacy policy.

Did I Ever Tell You?  by Genevieve Kingston

Did I Ever Tell You?


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Genevieve Kingston, on your first book!

by Genevieve Kingston

Excellent choice

Just enter your email to add this book to your box.

By tapping "Add to box", you agree to Book of the Month’s Terms of use and Privacy policy.

Quick take

In this moving memoir, a woman uses the gifts and letters bequeathed by her mom to navigate her coming-of-age journey.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline


Did I Ever Tell You? reads like a novel but is an unforgettable true story.

Genevieve (Gwen) Kingston was just eleven years old when her mother passed away, leaving behind a chest filled with gifts and letters to celebrate the milestones of Gwen’s life and each of her birthdays until age thirty.

When Did I Ever Tell You? opens, just three packages remain: engagement, marriage, and first baby. Tracing Gwen’s coming-of-age, the book reveals a treasure hunt, with each gift and letter unveiling more about her mother, her family, and—ultimately—herself.

Did I Ever Tell You? is a riveting book filled with unexpected twists and powerful life lessons. Through her mother’s fierce and courageous love, Gwen was granted the tools not only to move through grief but to cherish life.

For as her mother says in one of her letters: “love is stronger than death.”

Read less

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Did I Ever Tell You?.
Did I Ever Tell You?

When I was three years old, my mother learned she had an aggressive form of breast cancer. Each day she sat for hours at our dining table, her dark hair tied back, surrounded by stacks of paper covered in dense, technical paragraphs. I watched from the kitchen doorway as she researched every available treatment: conventional, alternative, Hail Mary.

Over the next four years she consulted doctors, specialists, homeopaths, and healers. A surgeon cut the cancerous flesh from her body. She adhered to rigid diets and swallowed a mountain of pills. She flooded her body with chemotherapy and carrot juice. She was always looking for a way to survive.

When I was seven, the materials on the dining table began to change. Wrapping paper and ribbons took the place of highlighted pages as her arms worked busily under the dark fuzz of her shorn head. Scissors swished through gift wrap. Paper creased under her fingers. Ribbon was cut to length with one snip. Knots came together with a tiny creak. Swish, crease, snip, creak. She had begun assembling two chests of gifts: one for my older brother, Jamie, and one for me.

Into the chests went presents and letters for the milestones of our lives she would miss—driver’s licenses, graduations, and every one of our birthdays until the age of thirty. When the chests were full, my father carried them up to our rooms.

Each time I opened the chest, I could inhabit a shared reality, something she’d imagined for us many years earlier. Like a half-remembered scent or the first notes of a familiar song—each time, a tiny glimpse of her.

For years after her death, the pink cardboard chest sat on the floor of my childhood bedroom, and I would open its lid to run my fingers over the rows of neatly wrapped packages, each with a card threaded on thin, curling ribbon. Envelopes thick with typed pages were clearly labeled in my mother’s tidy handwriting, an invitation wrapped up in a warning: nothing should be opened before the proper time. Back then, the chest was too heavy for me to lift.

Over the last twenty years, the chest has traveled with me across a continent, moved from state to state and apartment to apartment, always the first thing I found a place for as the moving truck pulled away. It has lived in crawl spaces and in the backs of closets; my instinct is always to protect it. Tuck it away. Every year the chest has grown lighter.

Now only three objects remain inside.

Create a free account!

Sign up to see book details, our quick takes, and more.

By tapping "Sign up", you agree to Book of the Month’s Terms of use and Privacy policy.

Why I love it

As I aged out of childhood and into adolescence, I became a mama’s girl. I grew to share my mom’s love of poetry, snow-capped mountains, romantic comedies, and throwing themed parties, among a million other qualities that have only become more apparent with time.

Genevieve (Gwen) Kingston will only ever know the mother of her youth. When Gwen was 11 years old, her mom died after a years-long battle with cancer, leaving her a whole motherless life ahead of her. Her only salve is that her mom left gifts for Gwen to open to mark life’s milestones—her next decade of birthdays, the day she gets her driver’s license, all the way through her first child.

But of course, it’s not enough. Gwen struggles to grow around the shape of her mother’s absence. She becomes frustrated and agitated, clinging to her youth, feeling rudderless as she approaches the question of college and what to do with the long, lonely stretch of life still to lead without her mother by her side.

In this aching memoir, Kingston paints a beautiful portrait of her mom, whose tenderness and absolute determination to live as long as possible broke my heart. Did I Ever Tell You? is an engaging and emotional coming-of-age story about the healing power of art. And it is a reminder that those we love live on in all of us.

Read less

Create a free account!

Sign up to see book details, our quick takes, and more.

By tapping "Sign up", you agree to Book of the Month’s Terms of use and Privacy policy.