Seven-year-old Leslie has a serious problem.

Someone is trying to kill her.

Leslie and her little brother must confront the stark reality of living with their mother’s raging psychosis. When her mother demands the impossible, Leslie attempts to control the chaos. Her obedience results in terrifying consequences, and her rebellion angers her mother, who writes rambling manifestos and forces her children to live on the run to evade the Russian spies she believes are after them. Her mother’s ultimate goal is to protect her children from capture even if it means she must kill them herself.

Eventually, the police remove Leslie and her brother from their mother’s custody. Freedom from violence and neglect offers the young girl a glimmer of hope, but alienating, oppressive foster homes cause her to plummet into despair. All seems lost . . . until a teacher intervenes and risks everything to bring Leslie to safety and show her the redemptive power of trust and patience, proving unconditional love is possible even without the bond of blood.

When I Was Her Daughter is a raw, honest account of one girl’s journey through madness, loss, and a broken child welfare system, where only the lucky and most resilient survive.


Outstanding Creator Awards Winter 2023

Best Non-Fiction Book, 3rd Place

Family, 1st Place

Autobiographies& Memoirs, 2nd Place

Women’s Non-Fiction & Women’s Issues, 3rd Place

Motivational/Inspirational, 3rd Place


2023 PenCraft Winter Seasonal Book Awards



2022 Firebird Book Awards

Coming of Age, 1st Place

Parenting & Family, 1st Place

Psychiatry/Psychology, 1st Place


The Memoir Prize for Books 2022


What Readers Are Saying


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6 thoughts on “The Memoir”

  1. Shannon Tedder

    I’m so happy for you. What unbelievable Courage you have Leslie❤️ I look forward to reading your book.
    Much love and support

  2. Joe Castorena

    This is a heart-felt memoir which is written with incredibly honest details about her fears and hopes for her brother and self. Leslie Ferguson takes you on a sad journey through her life and teaches us how to keep hope alive. It is a must read if you love survival stories.

  3. barbara moody

    I admire this author’s courage and resulting raw truthfulness of the child, through the eyes of the adult.
    ….. A thoroughly enjoyable read, with lessons to be learned throughout if the reader is willing.
    Thank you for the gift of this read Leslie Ferguson.

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