Bloomsbury to Publish What to Do When I’m Gone by Suzy Hopkins
A Mother’s Wisdom to Her Daughter
Illustrated by Hallie Bateman
A mother’s advice to her daughter-a guide to daily living, both practical and sublime with full-color illustrations throughout.
One sleepless night while she was in her early twenties, illustrator/writer Hallie Bateman had a painful realization: her mom would die, and after she died she would be gone. The prospect was devastating, and also scary–how would she navigate the world without the person who gave her life? She thought about all the motherly advice she would miss–advice that could help her through the challenges to come, including the ordeal of losing a parent.
The next day, Hallie asked her mother, writer Suzy Hopkins, to record step-by-step instructions for her to follow in the event of her mom’s death. The list began: “Pour yourself a stiff glass of whiskey and make some fajitas” and continued from there, walking Hallie through the days, months, and years of life after loss, with motherly guidance and support, addressing issues great and small–from choosing a life partner to baking a quiche. The project became a way for mother and daughter to connect with
humor, openness, and gratitude. It led to this book.
Combining Suzy’s wit and heartfelt advice with Hallie’s quirky and colorful style, What to Do When I’m Gone is the illustrated instruction manual for getting through life without one’s mom. It’s also a poignant look at loss, love, and taking things one moment at a time. By turns whimsical, funny, touching, and above all pragmatic, it will leave readers laughing and teary-eyed. And it will spur conversations that enrich family members’ understanding of one another.
- Well-Connected Author: Hallie is published regularly in New Yorker, Awl, Lenny, Buzzfeed, NYT Mag, etc. She has 9.5K followers on Instagram and 6K on Twitter. Her Tinyletter “Pen Parade” has 2K subscribers. Expect blurbs from Lena Dunham, Adam Kurtz, and New Yorker cartoonists including Liana Finck.
- Broad Readership: What to Do When I’m Gone will speak to daughters, sons, and parents, millennials and boomers, and everyone in between. Its emotional range is just as vast, from the hilariously playful to the deeply profound, and speaks to a universal relationship.
- Timely Topic: From Paul Kalanathi to Roz Chast, books that face the reality of death are speaking to the buying public now more than ever. The book poses questions about end-of-life necessities: How will you write the obituary, Survive crippling grief? Make a tough decision? Cope with squabbling
children? Deal with indignities of old age? It’s all here.
- A mother’s wisdom: Everything from making a giant pot of chili to creating a
“duck it” list to discussing life with your own children.
Hallie Bateman is a Los Angeles-based illustrator and writer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Lenny, BuzzFeed, the Awl, and elsewhere. Her creative journal, Brave New Work, was published by MOMA in 2017.
Suzy Hopkins is a former newspaper reporter who since 2008 has published a quarterly magazine (Friends & Neighbors, www.seniorfan.com) for boomers and seniors in California’s Central Sierra. She is also Hallie’s mom. She lives in Columbia, California.