All posts tagged: Memoir Monday

MEMOIR MONDAY: Michelle Oranage’s PURE FLAME is less of a legacy, and more of a heritage, about mothers & daughters, a reckoning with matralineal ties

By Leslie Lindsay An intellectual, personal, and ultimately ferocious reckoning with feminism, family, and motherhood from a celebrated critic. A New York Times Edi­tors’ Choice ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ MEMOIR MONDAY Featured Spotlight: PURE FLAME by Michelle Orange Michelle Orange is the author of the essay collection This Is Running for Your Life, named a best book of 2013 by The New Yorker. Her writing has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, Bookforum, McSweeney’s, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she is a contributing editor. She teaches in the graduate writing programs at Goucher College and Columbia University. ABOUT PURE FLAME: During one of the texting sessions that became our habit over the period I now think of as both late and early in our relationship, my mother revealed the existence of someone named Janis Jerome. So begins Michelle Orange’s extraordinary inquiry into the meaning of maternal legacy―in her own family and across a century of seismic change. Jerome, she learns, is one of her mother’s many alter egos: the name used in a case …

GHOST WEEK: Is writing about family a kindness or intrusion? Kat Chow’s SEEING GHOSTS: A Memoir about her mother, race, culture, immigration, more, plus a writing prompt

By Leslie Lindsay “[…]The archaeologists of memory, unearthing places we have wavered in going. Like all books that haunt us long after reading, SEEING GHOSTS is a courageous act of excavation and salvage.” –Ocean Vuong, New York Times bestselling author of ON EARTH WE ARE BRIEFLY BEAUTIFUL ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ GHOST WEEK ALWAYS WITH A BOOK|MEMOIR MONDAY Featured Spotlight: SEEING GHOSTS: A Memoir Kat Chow is a writer and journalist, a former NPR reporter, and the founding member of the Code Switch team. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and on RadioLab, among others. She is one of Pop Culture Happy Hour’s fourth chairs. She received residency fellowships from the Millay Colony and the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. She lives near Washington, D.C. SEEING GHOSTS (Grand Central Publishing, August 24 2021) is her highly anticipated first book. ABOUT SEEING GHOSTS: A powerful and haunting portrait of grief told through the prism of three generations of Kat Chow’s family. Always unusually fixated on death, Kat worried constantly about her …

Diana Kupershmit talks about her unbearable decision, second chances, parenting a child with special needs, photography, and more in her moving memoir EMMA’S LAUGH

By Leslie Lindsay An elegantly raw, and often brutal memoir of a mother’s loss, but also a deep gift of second chances, growth, and more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ Always with a Book|Memoir Monday Leslie Lindsay & Diana Kupershmit in Conversation Convinced of her inability to love her “imperfect” child and give her the best care and life she deserved, Diana Kupershmit gave her first-born up for adoption. But as with all things that are meant to be, Emma found her way back home. Diana is a social worker, mother, and photographer. EMMA’S LAUGH is her debut memoir. ABOUT EMMA’S LAUGH: The Gift of Second Chances: In this hugely moving and harrowing examination of a life, love, and loss, Diana Kupershmit takes a tragic–and seemingly–unfair situation and turns into a EMMA’S LAUGH: The Gift of Second Chances (SWP, June 2021), about her first-born’s rare, genetic condition, and the gifts she bestowed on the family.Like most eager new parents, Diana imagined a perfect child when she gave birth for the first time to Emma, at the age of …

MEMOIR MONDAY: 2020 FAVORITES curated by leslie lindsay

By Leslie Lindsay Great list of memoirs that really hit home, in this year-end round-up as curated by your host, Leslie Lindsay.  ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ 2020 YEAR-END ROUND-UP Memoir is one of my very favorite genres. I think it’s because I love inhabiting someone else’s world, even if just briefly. I learn a lot about myself, and the world around me. Plus, there’s always resilience and strength and a new lens in which one gazes from the world. I am often moved to write when I read a memoir–but not always. There’s something about digesting someone else’s words and stories to help the reader excavate her own. Also, there’s learning, at least for me, that goes on ‘behind-the-scenes’ when I read a memoir. I look at pacing, structure, and character. I notice things like imagery and word use.  It takes an incredible amount of guts write a memoir. It’s cathartic, sure. I think therapy is a lot cheaper and faster than say, the years and blood, tears, and sweat  from revisiting (often) traumatic …

The lovely & Talented Sonja LIVINGSTON talks about her astonishing memoir of growing up in poverty with a single mother and bevy of siblings in GHOSTBREAD

By Leslie Lindsay  A truly magical, glowing memoir of a life of poverty, told in the most lyrical, haunting prose that will stay with you long after you close the last page. ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ AWP BOOK PRIZE FOR NONFICTION ADAPTED FOR CLASSROOM USE IN THE U.S.  A truly magical, glowing memoir of a life of poverty, told in the most lyrical, haunting prose that will stay with you long after you close the last page. I always have such a hard time reviewing books I absolutely loved. When I finished GHOSTBREAD by Sonja Livingston (U of Georgia Press, 2009), my husband asked, “How many stars?” And I said, “Five.” He nodded, slightly unimpressed. And then I followed up with, “Five GLOWING stars.” He was astonished. “REALLY?!” Yes, really. And I am not in the habit of handing out five-stars unless I really mean it. GHOSTBREAD is about living in the raw corners of Western New York. It’s about a single mother raising seven kids with five different fathers.Here, we are introduced to Sonja and …

A powerful and harrowing story of homeless youth, a dysfunctional family of origin, mental illness, & success of physician Sheryl Recinos in HINDSIGHT, plus a timely and topical reading list, activism, more

By Leslie Lindsay  A powerful and almost unbelievably true account of one woman’s dysfunctional family, her experiences in detention, foster care, the streets of Hollywood, and how she made it through. ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ HINDSIGHT (2018) by Sheryl Recinos, is one of those stories that will absolutely stay with you. Sheryl is a your typical eight-year old when her mother has a psychotic break. Along with her next-closest-in-age brother, she takes them to a trailer home to stay warm, leaving them with nothing but uncooked pasta and raisins. And then she vanishes, but returns. The family struggles. Eventually, the parents divorce, but the father receives custody. When Sheryl is eleven, he remarries a woman who wants nothing to do with kids, who struggles with her own mental health issues. To summarize this harrowing story in a succinct manner almost discredits the author’s pain and struggles. Here, we delve into a deeply dysfunctional family of origin, involving children sent away to foster care, the ones that remain, and the frank abuse that follows. HINDSIGHT …

When Lacy Crawford was sexually assaulted at an elite boarding school, she kept quiet for fear of being ‘robbed’ of even more. Notes on a Silencing helps to dispel the myth of the elite having all the power; #metoo & #BLM

By Leslie Lindsay  Compelling and haunting memoir of epic proportions of one young woman’s sexual assault, the lies, the cover-ups and fall-outs. ~MEMOIR MONDAY| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Recommended by:  PEOPLE MAGAZINE VANITY FAIR When the elite boarding school, St. Paul’s, in New Hampshire was recently under investigation following extensive reports of sexual misconduct/abuse on campus, Lacy Crawford thought her past there was behind her. Detectives asked for victims to come forward, and though it had been decades, Lacy threw her hat into the ring. NOTES ON SILENCING (Little, Brown: July 7 2020) is exactly that–a plea to have one’s tender, vulnerable voice heard. Lacy’s criminal case is reopened. She sees, for the first time in decades, evidence that corroborates her memories. That horrific experience involving two senior athletes and 15-year old Lacy in the boy’s dorm after-hours wasn’t just a figment of her imagination. It happened, it was cruel, and every attempt to cover-up or ‘sweep it under the rug’ was made. Lacy wasn’t a ‘legacy’ at St. Paul’s. Her parents were wealthy, but they hadn’t attended boarding …

Searingly emeshed mother-daughter tale of love and betrayal, of a daughter living in the shadow of her complicated mother, of the consequences of complicity in WILD GAME

By Leslie Lindsay  Riveting story told in glorious prose, WILD GAME is elegantly told about a seriously dysfunctional relationship between a mother and daughter–and the mother’s lover. NAMED A BEST FALL BOOK BY… People * Refinery29 * Entertainment Weekly * BuzzFeed * NPR’s On Point * Town & Country * Real Simple * New York Post * Palm Beach Post * Toronto Star * Orange Country Register * Bustle * Bookish * BookPage * Kirkus* BBC Culture* Debutiful ~MEMOIR MONDAY~ Set mostly in Cape Cod in the early-mid 1980s, WILD GAME (HMH, October 15 2019) by Adrienne Brodeur might be *the* buzz-iest memoirs of the fall. And it’s deserved. Adrienne is fourteen when her mother, Malabar, wakes her daughter at midnight with the proclamation that a family friend–and also the best friend of Malabar’s husband (Adrienne’s stepfather, Charles) has kissed her. She’s beaming. She’s thrilled. The juicy details! Malabar wishes to confide in her daughter, to turn her into a secret accomplice in her torrid affair with this family friend, Ben Souther, who is also married. And Adrienne is eager to do …