Sarah Ruhl is a mom and a screenwriter. While we, during the pandemic, have tried to figure out how to communicate wearing masks, Ruhl writes about her experience with lingering Bell’s Palsy, a disease that paralyzed half of her face. What happens when we don’t look like ourselves, when our facial expressions don’t accurately portray our emotions, and when we don’t have control over what is revealed? Ruhl writes with disarming self-deprecation, honesty, and humor. She is authentically herself. Whether describing joy and love or questioning and frustration, Ruhl’s writing touches both head and heart. To read this is to discover someone who is very human.
Names for Light is a memoir of four generations' experience with postcolonial racial trauma told through folklore, ghost stories, and dissociated memories. Myint narrates her family history from past to present, but her own story in reverse. Like the nature of memory, the structure is nonlinear and has gaps where moments are forgotten. This is a must read for lovers of storytelling and the children of storytellers.
You may have no desire to know the intimate backroad histories of old LA, you might not be a film buff, but I'm telling you... you don't have to be much of anything to fall in love with this book. I couldn't stop until I found its author, the inimitable Matthew Specktor, in possession of success or happiness or peace or something that resembles those impossible objects. These aren't just essays about Fitzgerald, Warren Zevon, Thomas McGuane, Renata Adler; this is a book about what it is to be an artist in America. Specktor's story is both erudite and crafty magic.
This memoir will make you laugh out loud. The memories of her childhood are uproariously funny and so sad at the same time. Henderson struggles to find herself in a world that has dished out the worst of circumstances. Early on she developed a clear determination to find herself, sprinkled with her foul mouthed grandmother's words of wisdom, she is able to make peace in an unkind world with humor and wisdom.
Powerful, honest, and sharp. Ford tells her story on her terms, refusing to compromise or shy away from how the absence of her incarcerated father and tense relationship with her mother defined her formative years. Her work is a gift that allows us to glimpse her fraught journey through hardship and loss towards love and self-acceptance. Simply beautiful.
This book is as diverse and intersectional as the disability community itself, with stories of joy, humor, challenges and frustrations told from a wide range of perspectives. Reading this anthology has changed the way I see and experience the world around me. I have no doubt that these pieces will deeply move and remain with you.
Like author Michelle Zauner, I also lost a parent in 2014. While reading Crying in the H Mart I was vividly transported back to that time through Zauner's careful writing, reliving the same pain and grief, but also feeling the powerful love of family that emerges from such difficult times. This is a beautiful, emotional memoir that captures the heartbreak of losing a parent perfectly.
I am a huge fan of this author. Everything they write stops me in my tracks. The essays here will expand your thoughts on feminism and the media we've been consuming since childhood.
Trethewey comes at writing a memoir like the poet that she is. Her words will break your heart almost as much as her story does, told from a daughter's perspective of her mother suffering through domestic violence. She really shows the thin line between love and hate, passion and anger, especially in the bone-chilling recorded phone calls between her mother and ex-husband. Through her efforts to learn more about the woman she lost when she was 19, Trethewey will take your breath away.
You have adventure, family drama, laughs! A comedian, upon her fortieth birthday, takes each of her family members on one-on-one vacations and chooses Grand Canyon whitewater rafting for her younger sister. With alternating chapters between treacherous days on the water and divulging her father's scandal that changed everything, it almost reads as fiction. She meets curious characters on her boat and faces some fears while also sharing the road to her comedy career and her struggles with religion and marriage. It tackles so much in such a digestible read!