Cover image for A life in letters : Ann Landers' letters to her only child
A life in letters : Ann Landers' letters to her only child
Landers, Ann.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Warner Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
391 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Added Author:
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PN4874.L23 A4 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PN4874.L23 A4 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN4874.L23 A4 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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America's most beloved columnist shares 40 years of advice through letters to her only child, published here for the first time. In this witty, wise, and intensely personal collection of letters to her daughter Margo, Ann Landers delivers her own unintentional memoir.

Author Notes

Ann Landers was the most widely syndicated columnist in the world for forty-seven years
Margo Howard is a journalist and the author of the "Dear Prudence" column for, which is syndicated in newspapers and featured on NPR. She was a syndicated columnist based at the Chicago Daily-News and has been a contributor to People, The New Republic, The Nation, TV Guide, and numerous other publications. She lives with her husband in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Howard, the only child of Landers (aka Eppie Ledderer), has already written a memoir of her mother, so this time out she offers a book comprised of the letters sent to her by Eppie, organized chronologically by events in Howard's life. This is not a particularly satisfying approach, especially in the early going when Howard is in college, and there's not much of general interest. Things pick up as Landers becomes more famous and begins hobnobbing with celebrities. Still, to protect her mother and others, Howard leaves out many names, the most intriguing being the married man with whom Landers had an affair after her divorce. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Landers (1918-2002) penned thousands of letters to troubled strangers during her many newspaper years, but in writing to her daughter, the advice columnist's personality comes through with more clarity than was ever evident in her published work. Howard has amassed a staggering collection of Landers's letters, which span 40 years and range widely in subject matter and tone. Several notes refer to the famous feud between Landers and her twin sister, Pauline (aka Dear Abby). There are gossipy moments, as when Landers writes about a socialite who's had a facelift so disastrous she's unrecognizable. Unfortunately for those who like such dish, Howard is disappointingly ethical, concealing names and identifying information. However, this strategy is effective in taking the attention away from the occasional catty jab and focusing more closely on the book's real strength, which is showing Landers as the loving, flawed, sometimes even surprisingly dull person that she was. Beyond the occasional mentions of celebrities or TV appearances, the columnist's letters are simply notes mailed from a mother to a daughter, and anyone who's sent or received similar missives will feel pangs of identification. There's praise and encouragement, shock over allowance squandering during college days and, quite often, a healthy dose of nagging. Some letters are downright yawn inducing, with sentences like, "Daddy and I are planning on coming to Parents' weekend on Friday." While these kinds of entries can be trying, they provide a profile of Landers that will thrill fans of her work and be of interest to letter-writing mothers and daughters everywhere. Agent, Bob Barnett. (Oct. 8) Forecast: A barrage of mediaincluding radio ads, print ads and a Today show appearanceguarantee hefty sales for Howard's book. It should be a popular holiday gift. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Syndicated advice columnist Landers wrote regularly to her only child, Margo, starting with her daughter's first semester in college. These letters include advice, news about family and friends, and comments on Landers's own life; she also recounts her divorce, her friendships, her concerns about her column and the fame that came with it, and eventually her journey toward old age. Though primarily an opportunity to hear Landers's personal thoughts and feelings, this is also a study of a mother-daughter relationship, a way to view the march through American culture, and a commentary on major events that happened during this more than 40-year correspondence. Howard provides some observations on the issues of the day and identifies some of the people mentioned in the letters. Listeners will be rewarded with wonderful stories and insights, delivered with great humor and honesty. Read by Melissa Hughes, this collection would be an interesting addition to public libraries.-Danna Bell-Russel, Library of Congress (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
Part 1 College September 1958-November 1961p. 1
Part 2 Letters from the Road May 1962-January 1976p. 101
Part 3 California June 1977-July 1990p. 133
Part 4 Cambridge February 1991-May 2002p. 345