Where You End and I Begin: A Memoir

A memoir by Leah McLaren.

Leah McLaren

When Leah is eight, her mother, Cessie, abruptly flees her role as a rural housewife in search of a glamorous career in the city. In the chaotic years that follow, Cessie lurches from one apartment, job, and toxic romance to the next.

In a home without rules or emotional boundaries, daughter and mother become close confidantes — a state of enmeshment that suits them both. Their bond is loving but also marked by casual indifference. Cessie's self-described parenting style of "benign neglect" is a hilarious party joke, but for her daughter, it's reality.

 In Leah's first year of high school, her mother makes a disclosure that will forever alter their relationship: She confides that from the age of 12 to well into her teens, she was the lover of her 45-year-old married pony club instructor. The trauma of the "Horseman," Cessie explains, is not just a dark family secret but the reason for all her ill-conceived life choices, including marriage and motherhood itself.

 For years after, into adulthood, Leah is haunted by the specter of the Horseman. He is the nameless anxiety and restlessness she observes in her mother and increasingly recognizes in herself. Eventually, she and Cessie set out to discover truth of what became of her mother's rapist.

 A riveting and devastating portrait of mother and daughter, Where You End and I Begin is a memoir that explores how trauma is shared between women and how acts of harm can be confused with acts of love. (From Random House Canada)

Leah McLaren is a Toronto-born and raised author and journalist. Prior to her memoir, she wrote The Continuity Girl and A Better Man. 

Interviews with Leah McLaren 

Leah McLaren on her latest novel, "A Better Man", an insightful look at an unhappy marriage. (Broadcast date: June 8, 2015)
The author of A Better Man describes a job she was glad to be able to leave.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now