Arguing Against “Incomprehensible” When a Mother is Responsible

Book review: To the Bridge, by Nancy Rommelmann Book Depository Journalist and author Nancy Rommelmann found herself captivated by a disturbing news story. Young mother Amanda Stott-Smith had, in the early morning hours of May 23, 2009, driven to the Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Oregon and dropped her two young children into the Willamette River below. The elder of the two, seven-year-old Trinity, survived. Four-year-old … Continue reading Arguing Against “Incomprehensible” When a Mother is Responsible

Discovering The People Your Parents Were

Book review: My Dead Parents, by Anya Yurchyshyn (Amazon / Book Depository) As the title indicates, this memoir is a bluntly told examination of the lives of the author’s dead parents, focused around her trying to understand them through the lens of discovered materials and interviews. Sentimentality and emotion figure in, but author Anya Yurchyshyn doesn’t mince words in being honest about her complicated feelings … Continue reading Discovering The People Your Parents Were

Frank Stories of Schizophrenia

Book review: A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise, by Sandra Allen (Amazon / Book Depository) All those fuckers…all of them with their clicking pens and quiet judgment, all of them did not get it. There was something in the sky. This was the best moment of Bob’s life so far. This was when he realized that, no matter what, there was something bigger than all of … Continue reading Frank Stories of Schizophrenia

A Light in the Darkest Places

Book review: The Only Girl in the World, by Maude Julien (Amazon / Book Depository) My father is convinced that the mind can achieve anything. Absolutely anything: it can overcome every danger and conquer every obstacle. But to do this requires long, rigorous training away from the impurities of this dirty world. He’s always saying, “Man is profoundly evil, the world is profoundly dangerous.” This … Continue reading A Light in the Darkest Places

The Healing Powers of Comfort Food

Book review: The Comfort Food Diaries, by Emily Nunn (Amazon / Book Depository) What’s comfort food to you? What do you make or seek out when you’re blue, or need soothing? Is it what your family made when you were small, or something far away from those memories? I thought a lot about my preferred comfort foods while reading this. I found them hard to … Continue reading The Healing Powers of Comfort Food

Powerful Essays, Brilliant Criticism From Mary Gaitskill

Book review: Somebody With a Little Hammer, by Mary Gaitskill (Amazon / Book Depository) Novelist Mary Gaitskill, in her nonfiction essays, makes you think, and not just as you read. The content of these essays – in all their depth, humor, pain, wit, and wisdom – stays with you long after finishing. As does the feeling that you’d like to be friends with her, or at least … Continue reading Powerful Essays, Brilliant Criticism From Mary Gaitskill

An Unusual Coming of Age in L.A.

Book review: We Are All Shipwrecks, by Kelly Grey Carlisle If you read history, you could learn where the ideas you took for granted actually came from and, what I found oddly reassuring, that the world had always been a terrible mess. Kelly Grey Carlisle had an unconventional childhood, to put it mildly. In 1976, at three weeks old, while she lay in a dresser drawer … Continue reading An Unusual Coming of Age in L.A.

Being Okay with Being Unhappy

Book review: This Close to Happy, by Daphne Merkin Writer and literary critic Daphne Merkin, a former staff writer for the New Yorker, has suffered lifelong depression. She’s been trying to write a memoir about her illness and attempts to cure, or at least contain, it for more than a decade. It was finally published in February. A not unimpressive accomplishment, which becomes obvious as the narrative sifts … Continue reading Being Okay with Being Unhappy