100 Small lessons about Motherhood and Life

Nobody's perfect, and that's okay. A collection of memories of two mothers from two generations, who both attempt parenthood—and life in general. Prepare to learn a few things, and maybe cry a little.

Get the book
Get the book
The Author
Ashley Hay is the internationally acclaimed author of the novels The Body in the Clouds and The Railwayman's Wife, which was honored with the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, among numerous other accolades. She has also written four nonfiction books. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.

Luminous and deeply affecting, A Hundred Small Lessons is about the many small decisions - the invisible moments - that come to make a life. The intertwined lives of two women from different generations tell a rich and intimate story of how we feel what it is to be human, and how place can transform who we are. It takes account of what it means to be mother or daughter; father or son. It's a story of love, and of life.

When Elsie Gormley falls and is forced to leave her Brisbane home of sixty-two years, Lucy Kiss and her family move in, with their new life - new house, new city, new baby. Lucy and her husband Ben are struggling to transform from adventurous lovers to new parents and seek to smooth the rough edges of their present with memories of their past as they try to discover their future selves.

In her nearby nursing home, Elsie revisits the span of her life - the moments she can't bear to let go; the haunts to which she might yet return. Her memories of marriage, motherhood, love and death are intertwined with her old house, whose rooms seem to breathe Elsie's secrets into Lucy.

Through one hot, wet Brisbane summer, seven lives - and two different slices of time - wind along with the flow of the river, as two families chart the ways in which we come, sudden and oblivious, into each other's stories, and the unexpected ripples that flow out from those chance encounters.

"Motherhood. From the outside, the word sounds so complete, so wholesome, so... perfect. But on the inside, it's far from it. A daily scramble to keep it together. A constant battle to live up to expectations. An endless struggle to keep it from splitting at the seams.Image: María Aparicio Puentes
The Author
Ashley Hay is the internationally acclaimed author of the novels The Body in the Clouds and The Railwayman's Wife, which was honored with the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, among numerous other accolades. She has also written four nonfiction books. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.
Early Feedback
I highly recommend this beautiful novel, to everyone who reads. To all of you who are or ever have been a parent. To everyone who has ever been a child at some point in your lives (which is of course every human being). There is much to be gained from reading this novel.
~ Theresa S, Goodreads ~

Why Yes?
Beautifully written, could almost quote the entire book. Nostalgic, the author puts into words exactly the small things/feelings we experience daily.

Why Now?
It provides a good story/life lessons that people can always use, especially if undergoing big life changes.

It's Like...
It's like Julie and Julia, but instead of learning to be cooks they are learning to be mothers (and humans).

Perfect For…
Fiction readers who are also sentimental and nostalgic humans.

Heavy or Light?
Light. While it is sad at times, it is an uplifting story. Easy to pick up and put down, in a good way.