I’ve been trying really hard to get out of my kick of reading so many WWII Holocaust novels. I appreciate them and feel I learn a lot about life during those times even though the books are fiction. I think I become a little numb when I read too many of the same genre so I picked up this book, a memoir called Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey.
I will admit, I grabbed the book because of the cover. I picked it because it was a memoir. I’ve read a few memoirs that weren’t interesting. I guess I feel if the person thought their life was interesting enough to write, it must be interesting to read. In fact, some of my favorite books are memoirs.
This memoir is wrapped in a lot of layers. There is a bi-racial marriage in the mid 60’s and a biracial baby follows. That baby is the author and if you listen to the audio version, she’s also the reader. She does a great job.
The book also covers the hard topics of domestic abuse.
The book isn’t told in conventional form. There isn’t a beginning, middle, and end to the story. The author bounces from present to past…to the middle of the story and gives clues of what is to come. At first, I had to take a deep breath a couple of times before I could follow but in the end, I loved the format.
Here is what Amazon had to say:
“A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy.
At age 19, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became.
With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother’s life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985.
Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet’s attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers.”
Amazon readers gave the book 4.6 stars. I think I would agree. The book completely held my attention and made me want to listen all the way to the end.
You can find the book HERE on Amazon.