By Natasha Trethewey
Ecco, 9780062248589, June 2021, 224pp.
The Short of It:
A beautiful, heartbreaking memoir. If memoirs aren’t your thing, don’t let that stop you from picking this one up.
The Rest of It:
“Natasha Trethewey was 19 when her mother was murdered by her stepfather in 1985. For decades, she hid the event, and memories of her mother, in the recesses of her mind while she went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and become the Poet Laureate of the United States. Now, decades later, she opens herself up to her past to produce a harrowing yet beautiful memorial.”
— Mike Hare, Northshire Saratoga, Saratoga Springs, NY
My book club chose this book for March. Initially I had a hard time finding a library copy so I went with the audio, which is just beautiful but just a few chapters in, I knew I’d want to own a copy so I bought the paperback. Trethewey is a poet so the passages are often heartbreakingly beautiful. I found myself reading a chapter and then taking a little time to sit with it before moving on to the next. I first heard about this book when Obama chose it for one of his “best of” lists. He’s not wrong.
Besides the beauty of the written word itself, I could not help but be affected by Trethewey’s grief and obvious pain over her mother’s death at the hand of her stepfather. Both mother and daughter dealt with his abuse. Steps were taken to ensure their safety, and yet the legal system still failed them. The murder took place in 1985 but really, when it comes to domestic violence not a whole lot has changed.
While reading this book, I was reminded of all the drama over Kanye and his recent threats to Pete Davidson, who is now dating Kanye’s ex. That celebrity couple is in the public eye. The rants and threats are made publicly and still, little is being done. Trevor Noah recently called it out. If a women like Kim K can’t feel protected, then who can?
While discussing this book, many of Trethewey’s poems were shared and they are just beautiful. If you decide to pick this book up, check out her other works too.
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