My Mother's Daughter

My Mother's Daughter: An Immigrant Family's Journey of Struggle, Grit and Triumph is a book by Perdita Felicien.

Perdita Felicien

An orange book cover with red and green flowers and a photo of a woman and her daughter.

Decades before Perdita Felicien became a World Champion hurdler running the biggest race of her life at the 2004 Olympics, she carried more than a nations hopes — she carried her mother Catherine's dreams.

In 1974, Catherine is determined and tenacious, but she's also pregnant with her second child and just scraping by in St. Lucia. When she meets a wealthy white Canadian family vacationing on the island, she knows it's her chance. They ask her to come to Canada to be their nanny — and she accepts.

This was the beginning of Catherine's new life: a life of opportunity, but also suffering. Within a few years, she would find herself pregnant a third time — this time in her new country with no family to support her, and this time, with Perdita. Together, in the years to come, mother and daughter would experience racism, domestic abuse, and even homelessness, but Catherine's will would always pull them through.

As Perdita grew and began to discover her preternatural athletic gifts, she was edged onward by her mother's love, grit, and faith. Facing literal and figurative hurdles, she learned to leap and pick herself back up when she stumbled. This book is a daughter's memoir — a book about the power of a parent's love to transform their child's life. (From Penguin Random House Canada) 

Perdita Felicien was a 10-time national champion, a two-time Olympian and became the first Canadian woman to win a gold medal at a world championships. She now works as a sports broadcaster and is part of the CBC's team covering the Olympics. My Mother's Daughter is her first book.

From the book

I walked back to my lane marker after practising a start and knew there was nothing left to do. I was ready. Every cell in my body felt electric, as if I could shock the life out of anything I touched. I pulled in a deep breath, held it for five thumping heartbeats, then let it rush out of me with any microscopic remnants of doubt. I enjoyed this feeling and this moment despite the magnitude of it. I'd never felt anything so encompassing, so kinetic. I recognized it as that perfect edge. The one all of us athletes try to recreate hundreds of times in practice, in our dreams, in our journals — but never can. Because nothing can replicate the biggest day of our lives. No imagining can ever be real enough.

From My Mother's Daughter by Perdita Felicien ©2021. Published by Doubleday Canada.

Interviews with Perdita Felicien

Olympian and TV broadcaster Perdita Felicien can now add author to her extensive list of accomplishments. Her new book is a memoir called, My Mother's Daughter. Perdita takes our Proust questionnaire.

Perdita Felicien draws strength from the hurdles her mother faced

2 years ago
Duration 9:13
Perdita Felicien is one of Canada’s most decorated female track athletes, but her memoir focuses on the hurdles her mother faced and how that became her inspiration.

'I never talked about it and I am now:' Perdita Felicien on growing up poor

4 years ago
Duration 5:44
Two-time Canadian World Champion Perdita Felicien opens up about growing up poor and why as an adult, she's found strength in her mother's wisdom.

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