Skip to Main Content

Did I Ever Tell You?

A Memoir

PRICE MAY VARY BY RETAILER

Buy from Other Retailers

About The Book

New York Times Editors’ Choice

THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY, LIFE-AFFIRMING MEMOIR YOU WILL EVER READ ABOUT THE POWER OF LOVE.


Did I Ever Tell You? reads like a novel but is an unforgettable true story.

Genevieve (Gwen) Kingston was just eleven years old when her mother passed away, leaving behind a chest filled with gifts and letters to celebrate the milestones of Gwen’s life and each of her birthdays until age thirty.

When Did I Ever Tell You? opens, just three packages remain: engagement, marriage, and first baby. Tracing Gwen’s coming-of-age, the book reveals a treasure hunt, with each gift and letter unveiling more about her mother, her family, and—ultimately—herself.

Like Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, Did I Ever Tell You? is a riveting book filled with unexpected twists and powerful life lessons. Through her mother’s fierce and courageous love, Gwen was granted the tools not only to move through grief but to cherish life.

For as her mother says in one of her letters: “love is stronger than death.”

About The Author

Photograph by Victoria Stevens

Genevieve Kingston holds BAs in theater and linguistics from UC Berkeley, and an MFA in acting from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Theater. She is the author of four plays and three one acts. In May 2021, her essay, “She Put Her Unspent Love in a Cardboard Box,” appeared in The New York Times’s “Modern Love” column. Did I Ever Tell You? is her first book. She lives with her partner in Brooklyn, New York.

Product Details

  • Publisher: S&S/Marysue Rucci Books (April 16, 2024)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668006290

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

"In this heartfelt memoir, Kingston reflects on her mother’s death, in her late 40s, from breast cancer and the carefully cataloged notes and gifts she left for her children to open when she was gone."
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

“An unforgettable memoir about the power of love.”
—Good Morning America

"This debut memoir tells a daughter’s story of grief and a mother’s devotion... Two decades after her mother’s passing, Kingston is left with three remaining boxes—engagement, marriage, and first baby—and a lifetime of memories to unpack." —Oprah Daily, 'Most Anticipated Books of 2024'

“Gwen Kingston’s dying mother left her gifts that would carry her through age 30. In so doing, Gwen could mete out doses of her late mother throughout her young adulthood, clinging to her mother’s memory and voice, and feeling her love, all of which she chronicles in this wonderful memoir." —Katie Couric Media, '26 Books for Every Mom on Your List'

"In this memoir, Genevieve Kingston shares the story of losing her mother at the tender age of eleven. What she gained was a treasure chest... Admit it, you're already as moved and intrigued as I am.” —Parade, 'The Best New Book Releases This Week'

“[Did I Ever Tell You?] offers solace and an empathetic voice for readers who have contended with their own experiences of grief and loss. It is a powerful testament to a mother’s legacy and the importance of living a full and meaningful life, however long it may last.” —BookReporter

“Both a beautiful tribute to [Kingston’s] mother and a portrait of unconditional love, providing catharsis for anyone who has ever lost a loved one.” —Real Simple

“Kingston's beautifully written debut memoir is both heartrending and hard to put down. Her mother's gifts and words of love reached into Kingston's future life like ‘a trail of breadcrumbs,’ providing direction, affirmation, and affection and proving that a mother’s love is ‘stronger than death.’ Kingston’s generous telling of her youth and loss is unforgettable and profound.” —Booklist (starred)

“[A] wrenching memoir.” —Kim Hubbard, The New York Times Book Review

“As the shape of her grief changes with age, Kingston teaches us something essential about how to collect, hold, and savor memories of loved ones over a lifetime. A heart-tugging memoir about the many faces of loss.” —Kirkus

“In her debut memoir, UC Berkeley alum Genevieve Kingston expands on her Modern Love essay about a series of gifts that her late mother left behind in anticipation of birthdays and milestones that she’d never witness.” San Francisco Chronicle

Did I Ever Tell You? is compelling and heartbreaking, and reminded me how beautiful humans can be when life breaks them open. Gwen's mother, during her own most difficult time, executes an act of miraculous love for her children that has a scope and power that will take your breath away. Don't miss this gorgeous memoir.”
—Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Hello Beautiful and Dear Edward

"I could not love this book more. Did I Ever Tell You? grabbed my heart from the very first pages and took me on a journey that has changed forever the way I think about the legacies we leave—on purpose and by accident—to those we love. In bracing, vivid, generous prose and with crystalline candor, Kingston shares a page-turning and wholly unexpected story about the extraordinary gifts her mother left her, including the most powerful one of all: the tools Kingston needed to carry on without her mom. This book is so full of hard-won wisdom and surprising insight into the challenges and joys of living every day that I want to press it into the hands of everyone I know and say, simply, “You must, must read this."
—Will Schwalbe, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Your Life Book Club

"An extraordinary testament to the power of love over death, this book is healing, moving, and ultimately, instructive. The example of one mother's incredible unconditional love for her daughter, and this daughter’s resilient search to live well in the face of devastating loss, will make readers cry, and also help them through their grief. Though I read this book quickly because I could not put it down, it will nurture me for a long time to come. What a beautiful gift from a mother to a daughter, and for a daughter to her readers."
—Sarah Ruhl, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Smile

"In this gorgeous memoir, Genevieve Kingston packages up the stories of her motherless coming-of-age with as much tenderness and care as her mom took in selecting and wrapping the gifts and letters she left behind for her. At times devastating, at other times funny, Kingston is never treacly or manipulative—she's clear-eyed, reflective, and expansive throughout, making hers a story that so many of us can relate to. This book will give you a long, cathartic cry." —Elise Loehnen, New York Times bestselling author of On Our Best Behavior

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images