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Launchpad: Dead Mom Walking, by Rachel Matlow

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Rachel Matlow's memoir Dead Mom Walking, which we're particularly excited about after reading their recommended reading list of queer memoirs.

Zoe Whittall writes, “This book is perfect. Dead Mom Walking is a deeply funny, incredibly smart, and moving page-turner...I just can’t get over what a stunning achievement it is.”


The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

Dead Mom Walking is about how my amazing/beloved/hilarious mother tried to cure herself of cancer …

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“This is so Mom can get her book done": Carrie Snyder on being a mother who is also a writer

Book Cover The Juliet Stories

When my first book, Hair Hat, was published, I had two children, ages two and fourteen months. Immersed in a stay-at-home world of diapers and chapped hands, of broken nights and snowed-in sleepy days, I found it damn near impossible to identify myself with any confidence as a real writer. In the months leading up to the book’s publication date, I hid out in an upstairs bedroom to go over cover art and proofs while my mother babysat the children downstairs. There was a lunch meeting at a nearby restaurant with two publicists (my mother called in again to babysit). This was all very exciting, but it also felt utterly removed from the daily, nightly, milky, moment-by-moment mundanity of young motherhood.

Somehow I couldn’t imagine the existence of my book as a book.

Then one snowy January morning a package arrived, addressed to me. It was small. It was from my publisher. I carried it into the living-room and knelt down on the floor, because the floor was where I spent half my life helping the children with puzzles, or block towers, or simple crafts. I opened the package. Out slid a bound book. My book. It was such a moment. I experienced it happening while it was happening, thinking to myself: I will always remember this. My eyes filled with tears. The children c …

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