An Olympic misstep might be how the public defines a career, but it hardly defines a high-performance athlete’s life.

When Perdita Felicien crashed into the first hurdle in the 100-metre final at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, all the reigning world champion from Canada could do was watch the race play out on a video screen high above the track.

Though her dreams were dashed, she would stand proud and tall again — it was in her DNA. In My Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir of Struggle and Triumph (Doubleday), Felicien fastidiously constructs a poignant narrative that extends far beyond sport. 

By bringing her mother Cathy Browne’s tale of leaving St. Lucia to resettle in Canada to light, we can better understand the contemporary Canadian experience.