In her memoir of early life with photography icon Robert Mapplethorpe, Godmother of Punk Patti Smith has crafted an evocative tale of how two kids from New Jersey and Long Island, once factory workers and hustlers, rose to the upper echelons of the art world. And she does a good job with that. Enough to win the National Book Award.
I have been a fan of Augusten's for quite some time. I have read all of his books and enjoyed almost all of those books. This latest memoir was a disappointment. I looked for the humor and the heartbreak that his previous memoirs had, but this one fell short. I found myself not wanting to continue, but I had to (because I am a librarian after all).
This memoir is one of Christmas memories-none of them memorable to anyone but Augusten.
The publishers tout this book as a funny memoir about a white girl who is raised in a poor, predominately African-American inner-city by her divorced dad who acts like a black man. I thought I would love it since I was the kind of white girl raised in a predominantly affluent, white suburb who felt stifled by mainstream culture and fantasized about living in a more diverse world.
Little book, big impact. Despite its small size this memoir is similar to other personal accounts written to reflect on life after a spouse dies. It joins the ranks of Calvin Trillin and Joan Didion searching for peace and paying tribute to their lost love. But while those authors lovingly look back on their long marriage, Kate Braestrup needs to face her future reality as a young wife and mother of four when her husband is killed in a car crash. This tragedy causes her to re-invent herself. She pursues her husband’s dream and becomes a Unitarian Universalist minister.
I’m generally a big fan of depressive ruminations, so you can imagine my dismay in discovering Nathan Rabin’s memoir The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture is funny and a fast read.
When David was eleven, a family friend noticed a bump in his neck. Three and a half years later he would finally have the lump removed. Despite being told he was fine, two surgeries left David with only one vocal chord and a huge scar down his throat and neck. It wasn’t until later that David would learn he had had cancer and had not been expected to live. Small, a well-deserved award winning illustrator possesses an almost creepy ability to convey complex emotions through his drawings. The story itself is remarkable and the illustrations serve to heighten the impact.