Category: Memoir

A review of The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke

From the day of early childhood to the teenage years, Clarke consistently takes moments of her life, interrogates them, and gives them a certain form of literary justice. I wouldn’t say a poetic justice, because Clarke isn’t trying to write poetically. She is giving a record of what it means to be born as a foreigner in your own country, and the existential challenges which come throughout.

A review of Imperfect by Lee Kofman

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend time Googling these people, or that I wasn’t fascinated by the whole notion of what constitutes beauty – and the way in which it’s judged. Kofman doesn’t pretend to have an answer—Imperfect is not a didactic book, and nor does it present a thesis that beauty is more than ‘skin deep’ and that judgement in any form is bad–we cannot help gazing at the beautiful or indeed the shocking. What the book does show however, is that these are complex and important questions to raise and that familiarity and reflectiveness are a means to better understanding who we are.

A review of Nina’s Memento Mori by Mathias Freese

Nina Wingard Freese was a retired special education teacher of autistic students who died as a result of ALS – Lou Gehrig’s disease. Contemplative and enhanced with photographs, the book presents Nina as a little girl and again several more times as she is growing up and as a young mother and then as a handsome, mature woman.

A review of Howard Zinn & Lois Mottonen Fistfight in the Equality State by Rodger McDaniel

Having lived in Wyoming for the past four years, reading it was verification for what I see, experience, and find problems with, constantly. I have often thought that Wyoming’s undeserving motto is a farce in comparison with its laws, policies, priorities, and politicians. And here was a Wyoming woman who lived, captured, and published the cruel reality of being a minority in this state with so much detail, accuracy, and innocence.

A review of Bone Chalk by Jim Reese

Whether serious or silly, Reese’s prose reads like poetry. He says more in a paragraph than most authors achieve over several pages. The final chapters are the shortest and most personal vignettes featuring his wife, daughters and co-workers.  Reese finds the profound in everyday, parochial life in Bone Chalk.

A review of Little One by Peter Papathanasiou

There is a great warmth and sincerity embedded within this memoir, mixed in with gentle humour, discussions of complex research on genetics, birth, death, siblings, parents, family, Greek culture, love. The genesis of the story arises from a secret, one of the biggest secrets a person can have revealed to them, that of their true origins.

A review of Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith

Not many writers could pull off such a diffuse structure but Smith does it beautifully, using her poetic vernacular and pulling the reader in so tightly, we begin to think and perceive in Smith’s fragmentary, hallucinogenic way. The result is strangely exhilarating.

A review of The World Was Whole by Fiona Wright

There is so much about the human condition that is illuminated here in these beautifully written pieces.  Wright takes the painful, the personal and the often unbearable frailty of life, and expands it so that the work becomes a celebration of being alive, of human resilience and of the beauty of the everyday.