When Barton Swaim read a column by his state’s governor, he promptly sat down and wrote him, “I know how to write, and you need a writer.” He got the job, but his writing skills went to waste as the governor insisted on a “voice” that bore only a slight resemblance to proper English.
The appeal of A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life ultimately has as much to with who Brian Grazer isn’t as with who he is.
Open Candice Bergen’s A Fine Romance and be prepared to settle in for an evening filled with a few drinks, casual grazing, laughter, tears and rollicking tales from one of America’s finest actresses.
If Elena Gorokhova’s splendid second memoir merely conveyed to readers a vivid, almost visceral understanding of the sometimes paralyzing sense of dislocation she experienced arriving in the United States in 1980 from the Soviet Union, that alone would be reason enough to read it. On her first day in the U.S., for instance, she visits the air-conditioned Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum with the American husband she barely knows, and wonders, “Why are there no smells? Russia assaults you in your nostrils: milk always on the verge of turning sour, the wet wool of winter coats we wear everyday for five months, rubber phone booth tiles buckled with urine. . . .”
In Hyper: A Personal History of ADHD, author Timothy Denevi writes, “One of my goals, here, has been to examine the mountains of material on ADHD from the point of view of a patient; to retell a narrative that in the past has been the exclusive province of the people prescribing, as opposed to the people receiving, treatment.” After finishing this riveting and monumental book, I’m happy to report that Denevi has achieved his goal.
Fond looks back at profound dysfunction have become so commonplace, it’s a wonder there’s not a “crazy parenting” section in bookstores to help the next generation of memoirists get a leg up. At this point, crazy itself is not sufficient reason to publish. In Take This Man, Brando Skyhorse, who won a PEN/Hemingway Award for his first novel (The Madonnas of Echo Park), captures the details of his dysfunctional upbringing with note-perfect language and does so in pursuit of the truth about his family.
Rob Lowe is dishing, again. Three years after the publication of his surprisingly engaging memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, the former Brat Packer-turned-TV veteran has penned Love Life, a collection of essay-type ruminations that are a mix of the surreal and the serious.
Unremarried Widow describes the heart-rending love affair between the author and her military husband, Miles, who died in a horrific helicopter crash while serving overseas. It’s obviously a sad story, and Artis Henderson wisely chooses not to tell it in chronological order. Her narrative begins in the early days of their marriage, then lurches forward to the accident, then back to their...
A pivotal moment in Immortal Bird occurs when the protagonist, adolescent Damon Weber, is playing a pick-up game of soccer with his family. After a lengthy scrimmage, his father, author Doron Weber, is ready to call it a day. His son becomes angry. There is a heated exchange, as the young Damon, filled with adrenaline, competiveness and rage, refuses to quit. “Why are we stopping?”...
At one point in the riveting Losing Everything, author David Lozell Martin reveals that he "had to write this book to understand how I could have made so little progress in forty-five years." Readers usually don't find such a sentence in a memoir, which some authors use as an excuse to take a victory lap. Martin doesn't do that. Maybe it's because even before he put a gun to his head...