So This Is What
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The story of a city, a time; the story of recovery, escape; the
story of coming-of-age; the story of a career... This spring’s
memoirs and bios cover all of these stories, which bring us
back, make us ponder, and, hopefully, move us forward.
Going back in time and place is always at the heart of memoir, and this
spring we have Vivian Gornick’s The Odd Woman and the City: A
Memoir, in which the critic and memoirist examines her life through the
lens of her experiences in New York and asks how her engagement with the
city has made her a fiercely independent woman. Children’s book author
Arlene Alda waxes nostalgic about “da Bronx,” famous for nurturing some of
our most famous citizens, including Carl Reiner and Colin Powell, in Just
Kids from the Bronx: Telling It the Way It Was: An Oral History. Sex
and drugs fuel Brad Gooch’s Smash Cut: A Memoir of Howard & Art &
the ’70s & the ’80s, a paean to New York City and to his great love, film
director Howard Brookner.
In Screening Room: Family Pictures, Alan Lightman remembers
Memphis from the 1930s through the 1960s, in a family saga set against the
background of a segregated society. And The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of
Secrets, Loss, and Love from Iran to America, by Rahimeh Andalibian,
is the story of a family that survives the 1979 Iranian Revolution and escapes
to California, where they face old crimes and new traditions.
With Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland, the title says it all, as
Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus share the story of their abduction by Ariel
Castro, their decade in captivity, and their daring escape. The resilience of
the human spirit is highlighted in Blackout: Remembering the Things I
Drank to Forget, by Sarah Hepola, who looks back at her drinking from
the vantage point of sobriety.
In Jonathan Kozol’s memoir, The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father,
One Day at a Time, the social critic describes watching his father devolve
from a brilliant neurologist to an Alzheimer patient. Meanwhile, Pulitzer
Prize–winning poet Tracy K. Smith contends with coming-of-age, the
meaning of home, and the mother-daughter bond in Frontlist.
And journalist Judith Miller, “the longest-jailed correspondent for pro-
tecting her sources,” chronicles her long career in The Story: A Reporter’s
Journey, which is being kept under wraps until its April 7 pub date. To
quote Cees Nooteboom, the Dutch novelist and poet: “Memory is like a dog
that lies down where it pleases.”
MEMOIR & BIOGRAPHIES
SPRING 2015 ADULT