memoir Archive

Shirley Jackson, Madeleine L’Engle, and Motherhood

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I read much of Shirley Jackson’s memoir of raising four children, Life Among the Savages (1952), on a weekend when I was caring for three children. For a brief stretch—maybe five pages—we achieved a fragile equilibrium and they were all attached to me as I read.

Review: ABANDON ME by Melissa Febos

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Abandon me. The title is a straight-faced challenge. To her lover who she fears will. To two fathers who already have. To the reader who’s embarking on this story with her. Abandon me. Do the worst thing to me I can imagine. And I will save myself with story.

How Food Stars in Peter Mayle’s Memoir

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Being a lover of food and memoirs, I have a dream of living in a foreign country, especially in Europe, for a year and writing about its food customs.

Writing Fiction from Life

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Some writers that I know are at times so unsure of whether a story is theirs to tell that they will shelve a project for years at a time, waiting for some kind of permission to be granted, or for forgiveness, or for a death. But sometimes those things

The Beauty of Self-deprecation in Andrew Miller’s IF ONLY THE NAMES WERE CHANGED

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Fasten your seat belts. Andrew Miller’s alternative lit style is about to take you on a bumpy ride. His memoir in essays, IF ONLY THE NAMES WERE CHANGED, vacillates between hyper-masculine and tender in terrain that traverses parental concerns about raising a daughter, drug and alcohol abuse, and how

Writing Trauma: Notes of Transcendence, #6—Memoir’s Ladder to Recovery

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Through his words, the writer calls for change. He transforms traumatic experience from a state of helpless victimhood into one of empowered transcendence.

Writing Trauma: Notes of Transcendence, #5—The Objective Correlative

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Caldwell’s memoir is a deep exploration into how human and human-animal connections can heal us from traumatic experiences.

In Bookstores Near You: Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

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Depicting his time as a “patient” in the ex-gay therapy program known as Love in Action (LIA), Garrard Conley’s Boy Erased opens in a way that reminds me, eerily, of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Review: THE RETURN: FATHERS, SONS AND THE LAND IN BETWEEN by Hisham Matar

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Through the detritus of the Qaddafi regime's collapse, Matar digs with a singular purpose: to return to his homeland and find any answers to the ultimate fate of his father.

Demented and Seductive

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In the 12-episode series of her podcast You Must Remember This titled “Charles Manson’s Hollywood,” Karina Longworth takes listeners from Manson’s early delinquency, through his aspirational move to L.A. and subsequent occupation of abandoned movie set Spahn Ranch, to the details and aftermath of the murders for which he’s