For starters; this book goes on sale on August 2, 2016. Yes, I have a limited distribution copy, and yes, I feel like a total book reviewing badass.
Memoirs are my cup of tea. Actually, they’re my pitcher of tea, since it’s summer. I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
TW The mention of abortion may be triggering to some readers, as could the abusive tendencies of some characters. There is also talk of rape and suicide in more than one section. Creepy grandfather groping is also, unfortunately, an element here.
First of all, I absolutely love Spiegelman’s writing. It’s stunning, almost poetic. There’s a general warmth with which she describes things, even in cases that weren’t wholly pleasant.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about Josée from the start; a Parisian woman who wore blackface and generally treated her daughter(s) in a way that I wouldn’t necessarily consider warm. Her stories are certainly different than her daughters’ tellings, which made me question her character more, though I grew to love her throughout the book. I was glad that Françoise chose to move, and I loved seeing how her parenting techniques differed and reflected what her own mother had done.
I also wound up quite surprised with Françoise’s father as the story moved forward. I expected abuse from Josée, not from him. His many improper and frankly lewd acts were despicable.
Overall, it was a very dense read with many stories compacted within. It was beautifully written, and Spiegelman’s parents must be proud of her for keeping up their craft. I picked up this book about mothers and motherhood and daughters and I was so, so excited, and it was well worth the excitement!
I think that this book is a great feminist read because it shows multiple generations of women who are indescribably strong and resilient. Generations of women who don’t follow societal norms, and who do and don’t suffer for it. They are unapologetically themselves.
Further, I enjoyed reading on Spiegelman’s discussions of women’s, LGBT, and trans rights, and her many mentions of feminism.
The narratives of women involved in writing through four generations was especially interesting. I enjoyed the stories from Melanie to Mina to Josée to Françoise to Nadja.
I apologize for how long this took me to finish up! I’m getting ready for a move in August and had some summer plans that took substantial amounts of time (camping, camp, and a beach vacation). I’ve learned new skills, and sweat a LOT. Expect another pile of reviews soon!
I give this book a 7/10.
*Disclaimer: The portions of this review between the dotted spaces also appears on Goodreads in the review section.