This reads like a speaker series lecture, and apparently that's what it was originally. By that I mean it's tightly edited in the beginning, so you get the themes right quick. Then she loosens up, hooks you in, and brings it home to lodge these characters (her people, her family) in your head as if they're your own. By the end you love her, you love the people, and you feel like these are your family. And you feel quite triumphant that you can become a fully capable adult through such rough circumstances and such preventable hardships singularly created by other humans who share your DNA.
I didn't want to like it, I fought it, but about 20 to 30 pages in I lost all sense of time and place and fell into this story. That's why I read memoirs. Not to survive abuse, but to feel proud and brave and like I could overcome obstacles by determination and grit, just like the author. And, even better, I don't have to overcome quite this same abuse and trauma and hardship. Everything I've survived was survivable, and maybe it wasn't at all like this, but we're all better for being us, for being human, for having empathy, for learning by all the down and hard and difficult circumstances. Nobody learns when they have it so easy. And it's easier to learn by someone else's mistakes. That's why I read.
This slim little book can be knocked out in nothing flat, but it's rich enough in detail, profundity, and raw emotion to stick in your mind for the rest of your life. This is an excellent piece of women's rhetoric that discusses Dorothy Allison's life (no knowledge of Dorothy Allison is required to appreciate this book), life in the south, poverty, rape, gender constructs, and the social significance of beauty. Dorothy's voice is so beautiful and relevant that you will not want to put this book down.
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